‘New’ submarine paraded in North Korea ‘is actually a Soviet vessel from the FIFTIES – but crucial upgrade could still bring missile threat to its enemies’
- Kim Jong-Un lauded the launch of the dictatorship’s new vessel on state TV
- Appears to be a refurbished Type-033 Romeo SSK, first used at Cold War’s start
- Defence expert fears that the key change has been an expansion of the sail
- This could have been modified to carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un paraded his supposedly new submarine on state media, defence experts have said it is a Soviet antique.
Yesterday footage emerged of the so-called Supreme Leader flanked by cronies and boasting of his new diesel-electric missile submarine, commonly called SSBs.
But eagle-eyed observers became suspicious when they spotted that Korean Central Television showed him strutting in front of a refurbished Type-033 Romeo SSK.
Kim – known as the Supreme Leader in North Korea since 2011 – is seen here touring the facility with officials during an apparent inspection
The submarines were first used at the outset of the Cold War, but could be modified to pose a modern threat
The dictator boasted of the power of his submarine while state media showed officials taking notes during the broadcast
These first emerged for use in the Communist bloc in the 1950s, when the Cold War was in its infancy.
However, the fact that it isn’t a new sub does not mean that the development should be taken lightly.
The pictures that emerged of Kim’s military officials scribbling notes as he addressed them showed the brutal leader visiting Sinpo Shipyard.
Eagle-eyed observers noted that, during the broadcast, state censors not only refused to specify the weapons on board, but also blurred the rear of the sail.
The dictator (pictured with his officials) was shown praising a submarine that he says will patrol the sea to the east of his country as he boasted of a boost to national defences
This could be because that is where the tubes for ballistic missiles are located, military expert Joseph Dempsey wrote on Twitter.
One clear modification made to the vessel is the expansion upwards and outwards of the sail component.
Mr Dempsey said: ‘Given need to censored this large area it would be logical to assume it represents the incomplete or removed aft sail casing used to accommodate additional Submarine-launched ballistic missile tubes.’
Naval analysis site H I Sutton, using the Twitter handle @CovertShores shares Mr Dempsey’s conclusion that the sub is a modified Romeo. Popular Mechanics also reports that it is likely a conversion as opposed to a new vessel.
Defence experts believe that the submarine paraded could in fact be this 1950s Soviet vessel
Pictured: The Soviet vessel that the North Koreans appear to have modified before parading it on state TV
It follows the DPRK’s development of missiles that may be able to carry a nuclear warhead.
The Pukkuksong-1 has an estimated range of 745 miles and is designed to be launched from a submarine, putting South Korea and Japan in its path.
The land-based Pukkuksong-2 has a range of 1,240 miles and are therefore also able to reach the two states.
Pictures of the inspection emerged amid reports that a follow-up to those missiles is in the works.
Just two months ago, Kim also tested short-range ballistic missiles and this latest escalation comes ahead of American-South Korean military exercises in the region.
North Korea believes that such exercises go against the declaration that it signed with South Korea and the US last year when Donald Trump visited.