Naval Weapons

North Korea says it test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile

03 October 2019

North Korea launched a new type of SLBM on 2 October – called the Pukguksong-3 – from waters off its eastern coast. Source: KCNA

North Korea announced on 3 October that the missile it had test-launched the previous day from waters off its eastern coast was a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) called the Pukguksong-3 (also spelled Pukkuksong-3).

Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the SLBM was successfully launched "in vertical mode" from waters off Wonsan Bay in the East Sea of Korea (Sea of Japan), adding that the test-firing, which "confirmed key tactical and technical indexes", had "no adverse impact" on the security of neighbouring countries.

The KCNA also stated that the test was of "great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces' threat to the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defence".

The media outlet did not provide any more details about the weapon, including whether it was fired from a submarine or a submersible test barge.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) had said the previous day that the missile, which was launched in an easterly direction at 0711 h local time from waters off North Korea's eastern port city of Wonsan, Kangwon province, flew a distance of about 450 km and reached an altitude of about 910 km before falling into the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) initially stated that it had detected two ballistic missile firings but later corrected this, saying that the missile appears to have split into two parts, one of which fell into waters within Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone - about 350 km north of the Oki Islands, which are part of Japan's Shimane prefecture.

The latest launch is North Korea's first of an SLBM since the country test-fired its Pukguksong-1 (Pukkuksong-1) (known in South Korea as the KN-11) on 24 August 2016.

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