(From Washington Free Beacon)
North Korea’s military carried out a successful ejection test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile recently, an indication that an earlier test failure has not derailed the underwater missile program, U.S. defense officials said.
The test of the submarine-launched missile, or SLBM, which the Pentagon has called the KN-11, from a submerged submarine on Dec. 21 took place near the port city of Sinpo, where the capability is being developed. The facility is located along the North Korean coast of the Sea of Japan.
The test followed a Nov. 28 ejection tube launch failure that damaged North Korea’s first missile submarine, which officials identified as the Gorae, Korean for whale.
No additional details of the test could be learned, including whether the missile’s engine ignited after the ejection or whether the missile took flight.
North Korean state-run media did not publicize the latest test. In May, North Korea announced that its developmental SLBM was flight tested from what analysts believe was an underwater test platform.
One official said that based on the latest successful ejection test, North Korea could be as little as a year away from deploying a submarine armed with a nuclear-tipped missile. Other analysts remain skeptical that the North Koreans can master the technology for submarine missile firings.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban had no comment. “We are not going to be able to provide any information regarding matters of intelligence,” he said.
But military analysts said the successful test is a significant step forward in the difficult technical challenge of firing a missile from a submerged submarine. Read more