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South Korea successfully test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile: Report

In a budget request filed to parliament on Monday, Seoul earmarked roughly 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion) for defence technology research and development next year.

South Korea successfully test-fires submarine ballistic missile gcw
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South Korea, First Published Sep 7, 2021, 11:39 AM IST
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According to a report published Tuesday, South Korea has tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile as it attempts to strengthen its defences against the nuclear-armed North.
Pyongyang has long aspired to develop submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology. In January, it displayed four such weapons during a military parade by Kim Jong Un, calling them "the world's most formidable weapon." However, while North Korea has released images of underwater launches, most recently in 2019, observers think they were launched from a stationary platform or submersible barge rather than a submarine.

According to Yonhap, citing anonymous military sources, South Korea's Agency for Defense Development conducted underwater ejection tests of the SLBM from a new, locally constructed 3,000-tonne class submarine outfitted with six vertical launching tubes last week. The SLBM is expected to be a version of the country's Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missile, with a range of about 500 kilometres (310 miles), and will be mass-produced for deployment after another round of testing.

In a budget request filed to parliament on Monday, Seoul earmarked roughly 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion) for defence technology research and development next year. If approved, it will represent a 76% increase in the Defense Acquisition Program Administration's research budget, which will be utilised to "actively develop cutting-edge, future technologies," according to a news release. Pyongyang is also aiming to beef up its submarine force. Kim said in January at a Workers' Party conference that the North has finalised designs for a nuclear-powered submarine.

Any such submarine is unlikely to enter service for several years. Still, analysts believe it may be a strategic game-changer, allowing Pyongyang to execute a surprise undersea assault even if its land-based troops have been decimated. In 2019, Kim was photographed standing next to a massive warship flanked by officials as he inspected a freshly constructed submarine. State media said that it would be deployed shortly for operations but provided no specifics about its capabilities.

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