North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile test appears to have been an explosive failure that was not even launched from a submarine, separate expert analyses concluded.
North Korea released footage of the launch in January 2016, which South Korea claimed was manipulated to show a successful test that didn’t occur. This third test was from a submerged barge, likely so as not to risk damaging the launch submarine again. Video showed the 10-ton missile firing directly vertical out of the water, unlike the first test that emerged at a distinct angle. The first stage of the engine ignited, but the rest of the footage was inconsistently spliced together to appear it continued flying. The first stage of the engine ignited but the rest of the footage was inconsistently spliced together to appear it continued flying.
Analysts at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said the missile almost certainly blew up after a successful pop-up.
“Although it appears to eject successfully, we think that a catastrophic failure occurred at ignition, one clip plays for two frames too long. The rocket appears to explode.”
Said Catherine Dill, a research associate at the centre.
The information North Korea released show Kim Jong Un watching the test of a missile fired from a submarine with the name ‘Bukkeukseong-1’ or ‘Polaris-1’ inscribed on the missile body. It has been claimed that the missile was fired from an underwater barge rather than a submarine and that it flew only 100 metres above the water.
The missile was believed to have been a KN-11, a new North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile that is under development, based on the Soviet Russian R-27 and other projects on R-29, R-29RM. There are conflicting reports over the current stage of development. North Korea operates a naval fleet that is some decades behind the Russian navy.