October 30, 2014 09:57
A U.S. expert has provided what he says is evidence that North Korea is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be launched from submarines.
So far only big military powers like the U.S., the U.K., China and Russia have such missiles.
Joseph Bermudez, an arms expert writing on Johns Hopkins University's website 38 North, on Tuesday repeated his earlier claim that the North is developing the technology.
"A review of commercial satellite imagery since 2010 covering submarine bases and submarine shipyards has identified a new test stand at the North's Sinpo South Shipyard, probably intended to explore the possibility of launching ballistic missiles from submarines or of a shipboard vertical launch ballistic missile capability," he wrote.
He said the facility is "a 35 x 30 m concrete pad with an approximately 12-m-high test stand... The new test stand installation is of the right size and design to be used by North Korea for research, development, testing (including ejection testing) and evaluation of a vertical launch tube system for submarines."
The technology would allow the North to launch long-range missiles from any point its submarines can reach.
"Construction of the new test stand was first identified in September 2013... By April 2014, construction of the new test stand installation was complete," Bermudez wrote.
But Bermudez admitted it will probably "take years to design, develop, manufacture, and deploy an operational submarine-launched ballistic missile force."
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