North Korea shows little sign of backing down on the provocations, despite promises from President Trump that the American military is “locked and loaded.”
Joseph Bermudez, a North Korea observer from 38 North, explains that recent satellite imagery exposes a yet unknown submersible test stand barge that can be used to test submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The test stand will allow North Korea to accelerate their missile program, increasing their capability of striking the United States, and doing so in a nearly undetectable manner. We may not have warning of their missile launch.
The test stand barge is identical in shape and size to a barge discovered in 2014 at the Sinpo South Shipyard that was used to develop the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched missile. American officials believe the Pukkukson-1 was successfully tested for the first time last August.
SLBMs are extremely dangerous because they are difficult to detect. The weapons have a similar range to Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), but can be launched from a moving platform under the water, making it difficult to learn the launching point of the weapon.
Bermudez indicates that the newly discovered test barge was likely a recent purchase for the communist regime. The North Korea observer explains that there has been no evidence of a massive barge being built off the coast of Korea. Both North Korean barges are reminiscent of Russian PSD-4 test stand barges.
Fortunately, experts continue to assume that North Korea does not have a nuclear warhead capable of being mounted on their growing fleet of ballistic missiles.
However, previous accounts of North Korea’s weapons program were woefully underestimated. North Korea shocked the world when they successfully tested their first ICBM last month, which achieved an altitude seven times higher than the International Space Station. The successful missile test beat some expert estimates by five years.
The Telegraph reports that North Korea’s recent ICBMs have an estimated effective range of between 6,210 and 7,450 miles. SLBMs have a typical range of 3,000 miles, but North Korea has not revealed the effective range of their recently developed weapons. The American West coast is about 5,600 miles from North Korea.
Satellite imagery revealed a series of tarps and netting hanging over the newly discover submersible test stand barge obscuring the actions of the North Korean military. The tarps are being used to provide cover while the despotic regime upgrades their submarine program.
Acquiring a second test barge in three years indicates that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is planning to advance his nations naval capability as the overwhelming force of the American navy, with the help of South Korea and Japan, continues to surround the Korean peninsula.
Bermudez explains that the second barge could indicate North Korea’s intentions to develop a second SLBM. It also could indicate that Kim Jong-un is planning to include a ballistic missile submarine to his navies Wes Sea Fleet.
There can be little doubt that North Korea has benefited from technology supplied to them by China and Iran. Do you think this technological aid will allow the rogue nation to attack the United States?
North Korea still relies on outdated and easily detectable diesel-powered submarines. American forces would have little difficulty uncovering the ships if they approached American waters. However, the long range of the ballistic missiles allows North Korea to launch missiles at our country from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
It is because of all these variables that President Trump and the Pentagon have to take each of the threats, and the rhetoric of Kim Jong-un, seriously.