Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Submitted by: Edward Moore

North Korea Update 14: Submarine Heads to Sea
by Michael Hall

In the past 48 hours North Korea's newest submarine, the Gorae, has sailed into international waters. This situation has the world watching. What does Kim Jong Un plan?
The vessel is nicknamed "The Whale," and the prototype has been under sea trials for months, but to date has never sailed outside of North Korean home waters. The Gorae, (Gorae is Korean for whale) is also called the Sinpo-class, after its home-base shipyard. The Gorae or Sinpo is the largest submarine North Korea has built to date. This diesel-powered sub may be based on much larger and earlier Soviet designs. It appears to have one or two built-in launch tubes in its conning tower, each assuming to accommodate a ballistic missile. Analysts presume this new class of North Korean submarine will carry the solid-fuel Pukguksong-1 or as Western Intelligence calls it the KN-11. To date, submerged tests of the KN-11 have only taken place from specially designed barges, yet they have been very successful. These are submersible test stand barges, one at the Nampo Naval Shipyard on the North Korean west coast and one at the Sinpo South Shipyard on the country's east coast. Satellite photos show the two special test barges similar in design to what were once used in the Soviet era and were called the PSD-4 submersible missile test stand barges. Missiles being designed for deployment in ballistic missile submarines are out of necessity first tested on submersible barges until the design is proved safe and reliable.
The fear is that the KN-11 may now be ready for an actual sea-launch test. This would put North Korea at a level that the Soviets and Americans were reaching five and a half decades ago when a Cold War arms race was just beginning to get serious. A year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy observed a U.S. test of a similar submerged launched solid fueled rocket called the Polaris. Kennedy felt it marked a significant change in a nation's ability to cope with offensive nuclear weapons. Of course, at that time America and the Soviets had mastered the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads to fit onto their new submarine launched missiles; which both sides quickly deployed to their submarine fleets. That technological advancement developed out of nuclear testing, not unlike the testing North Korea has been engaged in since 2006.

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