South Korea successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine, becoming the first country to develop such a capability without possessing nuclear weapons.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday quoted unnamed military sources as saying that a new Doosan Ahn Chang-ho-class submarine successfully carried out underwater test launches last week.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it could not confirm details of individual military capabilities due to security considerations, Reuters reported.
Seven other countries are developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and these are the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, India and North Korea.
All of these countries have arsenals of nuclear weapons that are usually used to arm such ballistic missiles.
Yonhap said that reports indicated that the conventionally armed South Korean missile was called “Hyunmou-4-4”, and it is believed to be a type of South Korean ballistic missile, the Hyunmo-2B, which has a range of about 500 km.
South Korea is developing powerful missiles to target the North’s heavily fortified trenches and tunnels, as well as to reduce its military dependence on the United States, which has thousands of troops on the peninsula.
North Korea has unveiled a series of new submarine-launched ballistic missiles in the past few years and appears to be building a submarine to eventually carry the missiles.