South Korea carried out a test firing of a strategic sea-to-ground ballistic missile (MSBS) of its own manufacture, the South Korean news agency said on Tuesday, underlining Seoul’s willingness to strengthen its defense against North Korea with nuclear power.
The South Korean Defense Development Agency last week conducted test launch of MSBS from a new locally developed 3,000-ton submarine equipped with six vertical launch tubes, Yonhap reported, citing reports. anonymous military sources.
“The most powerful weapons in the world”
This MSBS would be a variant of the South Korean Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missile, with a range of 500 km, and it will be produced in number after a further round of tests, the news agency added. Pyongyang has also long sought to develop MSBS technology, and exhibited four such missiles in a military parade watched by leader Kim Jong-un in January, with state-run KCNA media reporting “the most powerful weapons.” powerful in the world ”.
But when Pyongyang posted photos of underwater fire, observers saw launches from a stationary platform or submersible barge rather than from a submarine. With last week’s test, South Korea joins the inner circle of countries with MSBS technology. Seoul on Monday allocated nearly 1.5 trillion won (US $ 1.1 billion) for military research and development in a 2022 budget bill sent to parliament.
A nuclear powered submarine
If passed, this will represent a 76% increase in the research budget of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, which will be used to “actively develop cutting-edge and forward-looking technologies,” according to the government. A press release. Pyongyang is also looking to improve its submarine strength. In January, Kim Jung Un announced to the Workers’ Party Congress that North Korea had completed plans for a nuclear-powered submarine.
It will certainly take years to bring such a device into service, but experts believe it would be a game-changing strategic step, allowing Pyongyang to launch a surprise attack from the sea, even if destroyed. of its ground forces. In 2019, photos of Kim Jung Un next to a gigantic building were released during the inspection of a new submarine. State media assured that it would soon be deployed at sea, without giving details of its capabilities.