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How serious a threat is North Korea's nuclear-armed navy?

8th September 2023 - 15:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch


The submarine ‘841, named Hero Kim Gun-ok, is launched in a ceremony on 6 September. (Photo: KCNA)

As well as splurging on ballistic weapons, North Korea has been developing submarines and surface combatants capable of firing nuclear-tipped missiles. Largely based on outdated designs, do they nonetheless pose a serious regional threat?

The Korean People’s Navy has revealed several new pieces of equipment in recent months, including a modified submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles, a cruise missile-carrying corvette and a nuclear warhead-armed AUV.

The tactical nuclear attack submarine was launched and christened in a ceremony at Sinpho South Shipyard on North Korea’s east coast on 6 September. Originally a Soviet-designed Project 633 Romeo-class diesel-electric boat, it has been heavily modified to carry submarine-launched missiles.

The submarine carries the hull number ‘841’ and the name Hero Kim Kun Ok. As well as a new missile bay segment inserted into the

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Gordon Arthur


Gordon Arthur

Gordon Arthur was the Asia Pacific editor for Shephard Media. Born in Scotland and educated …

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