Imagery: North Korean Submarine Houses Missile Tubes

North Korea SubmarineEvidence has appeared in recent commercial imagery that a new North Korean submarine has up to two vertical launch missile submarines.

The website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies called 38 North, posted the imagery with tags showing how the conning tower of a new North Korean submarine can house 1-2 ballistic or cruise missile tubes.

The submarine was seen at the Sinpo South Shipyard in North Korea, which has seen significant infrastructural improvement recently.

Officials at the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS speculated that a “shorter naval version of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile, or naval versions of the solid-fuelled KN-02 short-range ballistic missile” could be the missile used aboard the submarine.

Obviously, a ballistic missile submarine would pose a new risk to South Korea. However, the analysts at Johns Hopkins pointed out that the imagery doesn’t mean the North Koreans are necessarily close to completing the project.

Much like North Koreas ICBM program, the technology is still lacking north of the 38th parallel.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • BlackOwl18E

    Not gonna lie. If North Korea does manage to put working missiles on board that thing, I could see a strong argumentative case to sink it ASAP.

    • crackedlenses

      The Norks have to know that making the US think they have missile subs will start WWIII.

      What’s scary is that they probably don’t give a hoot…

    • buck

      Folks are confused. This is spoon fed Chinese technology. China build N. Korea’s nuclear program.

      • EdC

        Along with the Clinton administration

    • blight_

      Nothing an ALCM wouldn’t fix. It’d be an act of war for sure, and it would probably involve the Norks shelling the south indiscriminately.

      If the ROK wants to move against the DPRK, then they’ll do what they need to do. But acting in the South’s best interests “because we know better” is a veneer over “we need to destroy this before the DPRK tries to cross the Pacific and fire missiles into Midway or Hawaii”.

  • JimBobJoe

    Please, please, please send it out on patrol, Kim.

    We’ll even help you look for it if it ends up ‘missing.’

  • oblat

    If the North Koreans put a few boats on patrol off California history tells us that Washington’s tone will change quickly. No nuclear armed state has ever been attacked by us, having nukes and a delivery platform earns you our respect. Just ask Gaddafi what disarming does.

    • blight_

      All you need is to hit Seoul. Short ranged missiles will do it. A medium-range one to hit Japan as well.

    • WOW! Oblat is right for once!

      In twelve hours we can expect another profound and true statement.

      (BTW, it’ll only take one boat)

  • Virgil Cuttaway

    As my neighbor, a Korean War vet, always says “If Truman hadn’t lost his nerve we should have taken care of North Korea in the early 50’s then they wouldn’t have been causing problems the last 60 years and who knows what in the future.”

  • guboo

    Airplane leaving from a mountain orbit running out.,128.6520

  • t1oracle

    Uh yea, we need to sink that thing. It’s ok to let the children play but somethings they just can’t play with. No need to make a big stink about it, just blow it up just like the Israelis would if it were a Hezbollah sub.

  • oblatt22

    What you see over and over again is that Americans on the lower rungs are wildly enthusiastic to start WW3 because they feel they have nothing to lose, they have already lost for the foreseeable future.

    • blight_

      No problem. All the cool Americans will be headed off the Vaults, courtesy of Vault-Tec. The Enclave will rise again…!

      • Kid from 101

        We stand now at the precipice…….

    • Ronin

      Please enlighten us oh great one. Enlighten us how us low rung Americans always start WW3.

      Oh please tell us!

      • guest

        More the prospect of winning isnt that great.
        Korea: draw
        GW1: Win
        GW2: Win then loss
        Afghanistan: no one has ever won this one.

        • Guest

          I would submit that the USA gained nothing from entering WW I.
          We got sucked into a European War and a lot of young Americans paid the price.

          • blight_

            True, and that is why we entered ground fighting late.

        • chooch

          vietnam ended for america with a cease fire not a loss. After north vietnam saw that we left, they broke the cease fire agreement and reinvaded and we didnt get involved the second time around. As a matter of fact there was an official VV day, victory in vietnam day…The more you know…

  • Hector Q

    How accurate are their missiles? Can they program them with very specific coordinates, say to hit Sony Pictures in LA? ;-)

  • Sharon Stone CA flight 401 Survivor

    Pulte Homes of the United States will start building homes in North Korea starting in 2015. Contact the Charlotte Mecklenburg Olice Department for more info. North Korea stated will may or may not break down your door and try to kill you. For a limited time Pulte is including Quartz counters as standard and a free missile defense system as standard. The CMPD stated they may try to break down your door in North Korea but may fail due to the missile defense system. The FBI in DC stated we do not respond to murder anymore as we are preparing for HELL! Germany stated that Hitler would not approve!

  • femtobeam

    Are those the subs and missiles Sun Myung Moon gave to NK? The stealthy ones that can go anywhere?

    Page 19 of 80

  • Roland

    For the sake of safety and self defense of the country, people and the world, shink it, before it do some serious damage.

    • ohwilleke

      Sinking it would probably be more effective until Ms. Frizzle and her Magic School Bus enlist in the Navy. ;)

  • LPF

    After the NK sunk that SK warship, I reckon SK will make sure that sub suffers an “Accident”

  • JJMurray

    “…that a new North Korean submarine has up to two vertical launch missile submarines.”
    So, the REAL threat is that they have submarines that can launch submarines?

  • Chris

    To quote a poster on another website.

    “So North Korea has caught up to 1961 Soviet technology? Impressive.

    When would the subjects of the great leader taste the joys of 8 track?”

    That doesn’t lessen the seriousness of the threat (I wouldn’t want to be in the target area if they manage to launch a missile), but it does mean that the South Korean, Japanese and US navies should be well equipped to deal with a 1960s era technology submarine.


    Photo look much like the Golf 1 or 2 class Soviet SLBM?

  • ohwilleke

    “Obviously, a ballistic missile submarine would pose a new risk to South Korea.”

    South Korea’s risk is essentially unchanged. Seoul is 35 miles from the demilitarized zone which existing North Korean launch systems can traverse in a matter of minutes.

    The new risk from a North Korean ballistic missile submarine is to every country in the world other than South Korea, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Russian, and the Pacific Coast of the United States who are now vulnerable to a North Korean nuclear missile attack that it previously did not have nuclear missiles with a long enough range to launch at them from their land based missile silos, even if North Korean subs don’t have a truly global range.

  • notmyname

    So, the NORK boat approaches the US west coast with a nuclear EMP weapon in the launch tube… President Obama does what exactly?

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