Mystery Missile Could Point To Change In North Korea's Submarine Strategy

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Mystery Missile Could Point To Change In North Korea's Submarine Strategy

Flag North Korea North Korea unveils so many new missiles that it is hard to keep up. For submarine launched missiles, which are one of the key focuses, the trend has been bigger and bigger. Things have progressed from the Pukguksong-1 which was first shown in 2015, to the Pukguksong-5 revealed earlier this year.

Now a new missile has been displayed at an internal arms show. It is something of a mystery because it is smaller than the earlier ones.

Possible new North Korean submarine launched missile

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The missile is, at least circumstantially, connected to the submarine-launched weapons. It is however much smaller in diameter, and a bit shorter too. This places it closer to India's K-15 Sagarika and South Korea's Hyunmoo 4-4.

Arguments For it being a submarine launched missile:

Arguments Against it being a submarine launched missile:

Possible new North Korean submarine launched missile

Initial Thoughts On The New Missile

The Pukguksong family of missiles are very large, which makes them a challenge to fit aboard North Korean submarines. The locally designed Gorae class could only carry one, and the modified Soviet-era ROMEO class boats, North Korea's largest, can only carry 3. And even then they do so by compromising their already modest endurance. So North Korea may be looking fdor smaller ballistic missiles to arm some of its smaller submarines. Or at least carry more.

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In missile terms the compromise would be range and throw weight. But if South Korea and Japan are the targets this may be less of a limitation.

We could speculate that a submarine the size of the Gorae class could carry three of the new missiles.

Possibly the North's regime has been influenced by South Korea's use of smaller ballistic missiles for its KSS-III class. However there is no sign of the submarine development, and the missiles are still very large for North Korea's submarines.

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