|Test-launching of South Korea's submarine-launched ballistic missile in January. (File photo by= AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] North Korea on Monday questioned whether South Korea's newly unveiled submarine-launched ballistic missile is a real SLBM, claiming even if it’s, the "clumsy product" is just in the elementary development stage and cannot serve as an effective means of attack.
The chief of the North's Academy of National Defense made the claim in an article carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), days after South Korea unveiled its first homegrown SLBM by announcing the successful test launch from the 3,000-ton-class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine. "The disclosed pictures show that the weapon has the structure and shape of a typical ground-to-ground tactical ballistic missile. Though the photos could have deliberately been retouched for secrecy, the missile in the picture looked somewhat like a poor weapon without all its shape and far from an underwater weapon," agency chief Jang Chang-ha said. "What was shown in the pictures was clearly not SLBM."
Sources in Seoul said several more rounds of tests will be conducted to ensure the reliability of the new asset. It will then be mass-produced for operational deployment in around 2022. The South Korean military seeks to deploy a total of 78 units to nine mid-class submarines, including the Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, in phases in accordance with the country's procurement plan, they added.