This is the 8th missile launch so far this year. To date, the North Korean regime has tested long-range cruise missile, train-launched ballistic missile, hypersonic gliding vehicle, and ground-to-air missile.
Today’s missile launched was conducted from the sea, in an area located east of Sinpo in South Hamgyeong Province towards the East Sea (Sea of Japan), at 10:17 am, according to the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The South Korean military speculated that this projectile would be an SLBM possibly launched from an actual submarine, unlike the previous times when Pyongyang tested its SLBMs from a submerged barge. It was reported that the missile reached an altitude of 60 km, and that the maximum firing range might reach up to 590 km.
It has been two years since North Korea launched an SLBM, named Pukguksung-3, last time in October, 2019. The local media has raised the possibility that today’s SLBM could be a new type, followed by Pukuguksung-4 and 5. Accordingly, the Korean Ministry of National Defense is reported to have been analyzing the test launch based on its assumption that it could be the first-ever “submarine-launched” ballistic missile from one of the North Korean modified Romeo-class submarine (1800t). Currently, North Korea is known to have finished building a new 3200t submarine that can carry Pukguksung-3 SLBMs, now preparing for launching it to water, after converting the old 1800t submarine into an SLBM-capable one.
After the launch, the Blue House held a National Security Council led by Suh Hoon, the Director of National Security Office, where the council expressed regret over the North Korean missile launch amidst the involved neighboring countries’ active discussions on the progress of peace of the Korean Peninsula, and urged Pyongyang to join peace talks for the sake of the peninsula’s peace.
North Korean missile was launched during the time of the trilateral dialogue where Special Envoys of the United States, Japan, and South Korea met in Washington to discuss Korean affairs, especially growing North Korean nuclear capabilities, and of the gathering of the three countries’ heads of intelligence in Seoul this morning.
The Korean press also interpreted that North Korea intentionally tried to show its presence by such power projection, before ADEX (the Seoul Air Show) and a few days prior to the indigenous launch of the space rocket Nuri (Korean: 누리, meaning “world” ), also known as KSLV-II, that is scheduled for October 21st.
It now appears that the missile used for the launch is actually a new, smaller missile, first unveiled in October 2021 during a North Korean defense show. As H I Sutton writes “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.”
The photos (above) released by North Korea show that the new SLBM was test launched from the Gorae-class test submarine.