North Korea Launches New ‘Tactical Nuclear Attack Submarine’.

North Korea has made headlines by launching its first operational “tactical nuclear attack submarine,” designated Submarine No. 841 and named Hero Kim Kun Ok, an ex-commander of the North Korean navy. The launch ceremony took place with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in attendance, where he highlighted the significance of this new addition to their naval force.

A Modified Soviet-Era Submarine

Analysts believe that Submarine No. 841 is a modified version of the Soviet-era Romeo-class submarine, which North Korea acquired from China in the 1970s and later began producing domestically. Its design features 10 launch tube hatches, indicating that it is likely armed with ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Nevertheless, concerns arise regarding the submarine’s effectiveness in modern warfare due to its age, noise level, slower speed, and limited range.

Understanding the “Tactical” Designation

The designation of Submarine No. 841 as a “tactical” submarine suggests that it may not carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Instead, it likely carries smaller, short-range SLBMs or submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) with the ability to strike regional targets such as South Korea and Japan. The expanded rear of the submarine’s sail and the installation of 10 vertical launch tubes, including both large and small ones, indicate its capacity for launching SLBMs and SLCMs.

A Growing Submarine Fleet

North Korea’s submarine fleet includes around 20 Romeo-class submarines, which are powered by diesel-electric engines and considered obsolete by modern standards. While North Korea has shown its commitment to enhancing its naval capabilities over the years, only one experimental ballistic missile submarine, the 8.24 Yongung (August 24th Hero), is known to have fired a missile.

Source: www.reuters.com


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