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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

North Korea prepares ballistic-missile sub for sea worthiness

North Korea’s GORAE-class, experimental, ballistic missile submarine may be preparing to put to sea, possibly heralding further testing of sea-launched ballistic missiles or SLBMs. North Korea has tested SLBMs from land and sea multiple times over the last two years. The most recent test possibly may have been in December of this year from a land-based test site.
The netting that once covered the submarine and a submersible test barge has been removed, and North Korea also appears to have completed work on the land area along the waters, a “reconfiguration [that] will allow the stand to test missiles with engines larger than the KN-11 SLBM last tested in August,” reports the website, 38 North.
“These two factors suggest that both [submarine and submersible test barge] may have recently been at sea or are preparing to go to sea in the near future.”

“There are numerous reasons why the GORAE or test barge would be put to sea other than testing missiles or their components, such as certification of personnel or validation of repairs. Therefore, based on satellite imagery alone, it is not possible to determine whether a SLBM test is imminent.”