North Korea has reportedly launched a new Soviet-era Golf II-class diesel submarine, which can carry ballistic missiles.
According to a report from Yonhap News, the imported hybrid diesel-electric engine powered submarine has been modified to fire medium-range ballistic missiles or Scud missiles.
With a beam of 6.6m and a 3,000t displacement, the new 67m-long submarine can reportedly carry single-stage, liquid-propellant missiles with a 1,180kg warhead, and has a maximum range of 1,420km.
Also called Project 629, the submarines in the series are claimed to pose a serious threat to the South Korean, Japanese and US forces in the region.
A Yonhap source said: "The North’s new vessel is what the website 38 North reported last month as ‘an unidentified submarine’ moored in a boat basin at the Sinpo South Shipyard, citing its review of satellite imagery.
"According to the analysis of satellite imagery revealed by 38 North, a ground test facility for the SLBM launch has been up and running at the Sinpo shipyard."
North Korea started developing a vertical launching system for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) last month.
Furthermore, the country reportedly has 78 submarines, although most of them are outdated Soviet-era and Chinese vessels.