Clumsy Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile of south Korea

Jang Chang Ha, President of the Academy of Defence Science, released an article on the 20th under the title “Clumsy Submarine-launched Ballistic Missile of south Korea”.

The article said the Academy of Defence Science paid attention to the news report recently released by south Korea, and continued.

It was a funny yet surprising news report that south Korea attempts to join the submarine-launched ballistic missile possessors of the world.

According to the report, the south Korean National Defence and Science Institute says the ballistic missile was test-fired from the 3,000 ton-submarine “Tosan An Chang Ho” on September 15. After the test fire, the south Korean authorities gave wide publicity to it, saying “it is enough to deter the north’s provocation” and “they have become one of the submarine-launched ballistic missile states in the world”, while attaching great importance to the self-estimated successful launch.

South Korea might have been dying to boast of the fact that it also has the underwater weapon usually called “game changer” worldwide.

I concretely watched the news materials and test-firing scenes recently made public by south Korea. It was clearly not a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

As the photos show, it has the structure and shape of the typical ground-to-ground tactical ballistic missile. If there was not any intentional photo retouching for secrecy, the missile in the photos seemed like a somewhat poor weapon without proper shape, in plain words, far from the underwater weapon. The suspicious missile seems to be of series of the “Hyunmu” short-range ground-to-ground ballistic missile already possessed by the south Korean army.

The missile is estimated to be about six meters long and less than 800 millimeters across. Judging from the size of its jet flames, it is a tactical ballistic missile with a range of below 500 kilometers. Seeing the method of separation of warhead cover after coming out of water, one can know that it has copied the “K-15” tactical-class submarine-launched ballistic missile of India.

If a tactical-class missile is to be launched from the depth of water, its underwater attitude should be maintained well as its mass at the time of launch is small enough to be greatly affected by the waves, ocean current or moving speed of submarine. If not, the angle of coming out of water and angular velocity change too much to maintain the attitude of the missile. Scenes of the test fire recently conducted by south Korea show that the missile was fired from the shallow water by cold launch without actively maintaining the attitude under the water.

It proves that south Korea has not yet perfected the core technology including the complicated fluid flow interpretation to be solved in the submerged launch, the fundamentals in the submarine-launched ballistic missile. Military experts say that south Korea hurriedly made public the scenes of the doubtful missile launch, perhaps because it had to urgently announce to the world the fact that it has been possessed of submarine-launched ballistic missile by itself.

The missile launched from narrow submarine is quite different from ground missile in shape. Technologically, underwater operational circumstances such as degree of depth and different marine meteorological characteristics and circumstances during movement must be considered. In other words, difficult important launching conditions must be satisfied. Accordingly, maneuverability of missile is most important.

The underwater ballistic missiles of the world submarine-launched ballistic missile states including the DPRK are mostly based on propulsion vector control by rotary jet nozzle. The underwater ballistic missile opened to the public with much pride by south Korea is not beyond the scope of the elementary first step.

Many military experts take a skeptical view of its practicality. It is because this missile is no more than a meaningless one for “demonstration” and “self-comfort” as it has only hundreds of kilometer-range and loading capacity of 1-2 tons of conventional warhead at most and it is launched from conventional submarine.

Recently, south Korea is said to be expanding the weight of the warhead into 3 tons. Nevertheless, it can never equals with submarine-launched ballistic missiles of the countries which loaded tens of and hundreds of kiloton-class nuclear warheads.

The submarine-launched ballistic missile allegedly based on domestic technology of south Korea cannot be an effective military striking means in the war.

It cannot be admitted yet as a weapon of strategic and tactical value, threatening means, either.

However, we closely watch south Korea’s development of submarine weapon system and its real intention, no matter how much the submarine-launched ballistic missile is developed under what ground.

South Korea’s ambitious undertakings for improving the submarine weapon system predict the military tension to be further aggravated on the Korean peninsula and awaken us again to do what we should do.

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