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North Korea Launched First Operational Tactical Nuclear Attack Submarine

Utkarsh Classes 08-09-2023
North Korea Launched First Operational Tactical Nuclear Attack Submarine Defence 2 min read

North Korea has launched its first operational tactical nuclear attack submarine, and assigned it to the fleet that patrols the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who attended the launch ceremony said arming the navy with nuclear weapons was an urgent task and promised to transfer more underwater and surface vessels equipped with tactical nuclear weapons to the naval forces.

The submarine-launching ceremony heralded the beginning of a new chapter for bolstering up the naval force of North Korea.

Achieving a rapid development of our naval forces is a priority that cannot be delayed given the enemies' recent aggressive moves and military acts, the North Korean leader said in a speech, apparently referring to the United States and South Korea.

Nuclear Attack Submarine

The designation as a "tactical" submarine suggests it does not carry submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) that can reach the U.S. mainland, but rather smaller, short-range SLBMs or submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) capable of striking South Korea, Japan, or other regional targets.

  • The rear of the submarine's sail - the tower that juts out of the top of the hull - was expanded and 10 vertical launch tubes, 4 large and 6 small, were installed, likely for SLBMs and SLCMs.
  • North Korea has test-fired both SLBMs and SLCMs.
  • North Korea has about 20 Romeo-class submarines, which are powered by diesel-electric engines and are obsolete by modern standards, with most other countries operating them only as training vessels.
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