New satellite imagery showed North Korea is on an "aggressive" schedule to build and deploy its first operational ballistic missile submarine, according to 38 North, the website of a U.S. research institute.
At its Sinpo naval base, North Korea has developed a submarine-launched ballistic missile and an SLBM submarine. Sinpo has been closely watched following the North's two ICBM tests in July. Earlier satellite imagery has revealed the continued movement of components in its parts yards.
"The continued movement of parts and components into and out of the parts yards adjacent to the construction halls indicates an ongoing shipbuilding program," 38 North said.
The presence of what appear to be sections of a submarine's pressure hull in the yards suggests construction of a new submarine, possibly the SINPO-C ballistic missile submarine (SSB), it said
However, 38 North said the SINPO-class submarine and the submersible missile test stand barge appear capable of putting to sea at any time, but there are no activities suggesting a forthcoming missile test.
Along with ICBMs, the North's SLBM program has been a prime security concern in Seoul and Washington, though US experts believe Pyongyang is still years away from the operational deployment of a submarine carrying ballistic missile for wartime missions.
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