In lieu of another “beautiful” letter, North Korea’s state media today released photos of what appears to be a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Submarine, which it says is nearly ready for deployment.
Commentators on Twitter noted that the photos had been cropped to leave out the top of the sub, where relevant missile launching hardware would be placed, and that the steel plating sheathing the sub seems a but pieced together, unlike the smooth hulled U.S. SSBMs.
One called it the “Spruce Goose” of missile submarines.
Nevertheless, this is a significant development.
“Analysts said the Kim regime has sought to build a viable nuclear-armed submarine to enhance its deterrence capabilities, as the vessels are hard for adversaries to track and destroy. The regime successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in 2016……Dave Schmerler, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said the images suggested that the sub under construction is much larger than the one used in 2016.“If this submarine is built for carrying and launching SLBMs it is more than likely that they would test it, to ensure that it works the way they would need it to,” Schmerler said.”
“North Korea said Trump committed to suspending joint military exercises during his first meeting with Kim in Singapore, and hinted that it could renege on its decision to stop testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental-range ballistic missiles should the drills go ahead….…”Our discontinuation of the nuclear and ICBM tests and the US suspension of joint military exercises are, to all its intents and purposes, commitments made to improve bilateral relations. They are not a legal document inscribed on a paper,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said.”
Please follow me on Twitter @durrati