NORTH Korea is believed to have completed a homegrown submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles — a move set to significantly extend the rogue state’s nuclear reach.
South Korean government sources were reported in local media as saying a previously unseen submarine spotted in North Korean waters in recent weeks had now been identified.
The rogue state “is believed to have completed construction of the new submarine after importing a Soviet-era Golf-class diesel submarine and reverse-engineering it,” a government source said on condition of anonymity.
The Yonhap news agency reports the submarine was based an old design which was decommissioned by Russia almost 25 years ago.
The move comes as Asia enters something of a submarine arms race, with India just the latest to announce it will be building six homegrown conventional submarines. The first nuclear powered and nuclear armed submarine to have been built on Indian soil is expected to be launched next year.
The ability for North Korea to secretly deploy nuclear-capable missiles throughout the Pacific is cause for concern in some strategic circles.
Unidentified South Korean government sources told Yonhap news agency the submarine they have observed has been modified to carry an R-21 model submarine ballistic missile (SLBM), which has a maximum range of about 1400km.
Full article: Satellite photos reveal North Korea has built its own submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles (Herald Sun)