North Korea submarine: North Korea unveils first tactical, nuclear-armed submarine

North Korea said that after years of work, it had finally launched its new nuclear-capable submarine.

The submarine called “Hero Kim Kun Ok,” is intended to launch tactical nuclear weapons from underwater, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, which did not indicate how many missiles it could carry and shoot.

The nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, hailed the achievement as essential to his plans to create a nuclear-armed navy to confront the United States and its allies in Asia.

The submarine is probably the same one Kim examined in 2019 when it was still being built, according to images from North Korean state media. Experts at the time determined that it was an attempt to modify an existing Romeo-class submarine.

Four of the launch tubes on the submarine look to be larger than the other six, which may be used for missiles. The submarine appears to have at least ten launch tubes.

North Korea submarine: North Korea unveils first tactical, nuclear-armed submarine

The South Korean military, however, asserts that they do not accept all of North Korea’s assertions and maintains that North Korea exaggerated the submarine’s capabilities. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South claimed that while the North would have needed to make the bridge and other areas of the original ship larger to include missile launch systems, the new submarine’s look suggested that it could “not be operated normally.”

“There are signs of deception or exaggeration,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, without elaborating.

North Korea has been testing various submarine-launched missiles in recent years in an effort to develop the capability to launch nuclear attacks from the water.

The submarine was visible next to a pier in satellite images obtained by Planet Labs PBC on September 6 just before 8 a.m. local time. The red, white, and blue bunting visible in photos posted by North Korean official media on Friday looked to be displayed on the submarine. The state-released photos’ other data matched known characteristics of the area around the facility.

In remarks made at the vessel’s launching ceremony, Kim expressed happiness that the nation now had its own nuclear assault submarine to compete with the United States’ sophisticated naval resources, according to KCNA. For the first time since the 1980s, the United States berthed a nuclear-capable ballistic missile submarine in South Korea in July.

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