South Korea carried out the first test of a ballistic missile launched from a submerged vertical launch launcher. It is believed to be the next step on the way to the introduction of the South Korean strategic deterrence system based on ballistic missile submarines.
The successful test launch of the ballistic missile from a launcher mounted on a submerged barge took place last week. This is a huge success for the South Korean Navy, which has never conducted this kind of experiment before and did not have this class of weaponry. In this way, it has been proven that South Korea may soon join the elite club of owners of submarines capable of launching SLBM ( Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ) ballistic missiles from under the water .
So far, seven countries belong to this club, including North Korea. All these countries have nuclear weapons in their armament, and thanks to this, it is the nuclear warheads that are the combat load carried by the underwater SLBM missiles. So South Korea would be the only country with boomers with classic propulsion and without strategic nuclear weapons. Despite this, no one underestimates the importance of the weapons system currently being developed by the South Korean armed forces. The photos revealed from the tests of South Korean ballistic missiles clearly show that this is a precision weapon that does not have to have a nuclear charge to guarantee the destruction of the target, because it hits the target directly (without causing large collateral damage).
The South Korean authorities did not disclose the exact type of rocket used during the tests. However, it is believed that a version of the Hyunmoo 2B rocket was used, which, fired from a land launch, could hit targets 500 km away. Despite this relatively small range in relation to the performance of foreign boomers, it is believed that in the case of the Republic of Korea this will be a significant strengthening of the deterrence system against aggressive actions by North Korea. The South Korean armed forces will receive weapons capable of covertly attacking any North Korean facilities, practically from any direction. Perhaps this is also why the United States did not protest against the trials conducted under the aegis of the South Korean Navy.
There are speculations as to which combat unit will be mounted on the currently tested weapon system. It is assumed that the first Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine (KSS III Batch 1), which, apart from torpedo tubes, is to be equipped with the K-VLS (Korean – Vertical Launchung System) vertical launch launchers may serve as an experimental boomer . The first vessel of this type with a length of 83.5 m and an underwater displacement of 3,750 tons, which is to be delivered later this month, has a total of six launch silos: either for the Chonryong (Hyunmoo 3C) maneuvering missiles with ranges of about 1,500 km, or for Hyunmoo 4-4 ballistic missiles .
The ship is practically ready and there are two more systems to check: anti-torpedo decoys and vertical take-off launchers. In the latter case, however, the delivery attempts may be delayed, long after the ship is handed over to the South Korean Navy. It is not only about solving technical problems, but also organizational ones. The South Korean navy will have to introduce, for example, a reliable command and communication system that will allow submitting orders to launch missiles to submerged submarines and indicate the targets of the attack.
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