|▲ SS-N-6 ⓒ www.softwar.net|
North Korea is developing a long distance submarine missile and is in the midst of stationing it reported the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) on the 6th.
According to the CRS, the long distance missile which can be launched from a submarine or vessel has a shooting range exceeding 2,500km and is currently being stationed in position.
It seems that North Korea imported and made improvements on the Soviet Union’s R-27 missile (SS-N-6 named by NATO) which is known to be more accurate than the North’s scud missile of the ‘90s. In the report, the CRS analyzed that North Korea had enhanced the missile so it could be used on a submarine and suggested the possibility of Russian technicians assisting in the development.
There is some persuasive reasoning behind the CRS report. In 1992, a time where the Soviet Union had collapsed and the nation was in turmoil, North Korean authorities secretly paid Russian technicians and brought them to North Korea.
At the time, 20 experts from the Chelyabinsk Oblasts’ Makeyev Design Bureau were arrested at a Russian airport while on their way to North Korea. Additionally, a Russian media reported that another group of missile experts had successfully left for North Korea.
Since September `93, the North Korean navy imported 12 Foxtrot and Golf-2 submarines as “scraps of metal” through the Japanese Jochongnyeon (General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan) and it seems that the appropriate parts were acquired from these submarines for the missile.
|▲ A Romeo class submarine ⓒ www.submarine.id.ru|
The CRS revealed that the materials and skills acquired enabled North Korea to develop a SS-N-6 missile with a capacity to fire more than 2,500km to be easily set up on the exterior of cargo vessels including the Romeo class submarine.
Joseph Bermudez a military analyst and consultant for Jane’s Intelligence Review did reveal this kind of information before. He said that the North Korean SLBM had the capacity to threaten mainland of the U.S. and that 2 kinds of new missiles were being developed and stationed. Joseph Bermudez is an internationally recognized analyst, author and lecturer on North Korean defense and intelligence affairs.
In 2003, North Korea developed a new mid-range missile with a shooting range 3,000~4,000km and in 2004 stationed the missile at an underground base in South Pyongan, Yangduk and Songnam, Hoechoen.
Experts analyzed that the missile currently in possession has a firing range greater than the Rodong missile (shooting range 1,300km) and Taepodong 1 missile (1,500~2.500km). They contend the missile could reach either Guam or Macau and that the U.S. is in serious threat.
South Korean intelligence agencies speculate that experts from the Soviet Union helped model the missile SS-N-6 and argue that the missile was stationed prior to a nuclear test.