North Korea Conducts Land Test of Sub-Launched Missile
BY: Bill Gertz
March 22, 2016 5:00 am
North Korea conducted a ground-test last week of its new KN-11 submarine-launched ballistic missile amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, defense officials said.
The missile test March 16 involved a “pop-up” or “ejection test” of the developmental SLBM from a canister ashore at the Sinpo shipyard, located on North Korea’s east coast where the KN-11 is being developed along with the Gorae-class missile-firing submarine.
It was the second recent test of this sort, following a Dec. 21 ejection test, and was the first SLBM test since the United Nations imposed tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.
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Imagery indicates that the removable tower used to support a rocket engine, missile or launch tube at the test stand 1,100 meters to the southwest of the secure boat basin has remained in place for several months. Leaving the tower in place—somewhat counter to previous practice when it was erected just before a test and then removed afterwards—allows the North Koreans to more quickly conduct a “pop-up” or ejection test with little advance warning. In the February 16 image, the pad has been cleared of snow. The heavy crane, previously located at the submarine, is present and appears to be working on the test stand’s support tower. The purpose of this activity remains unclear however.