North Korea reportedly developing a new diesel-electric submarine at Sinpo shipyard, on the country’s east coast, according to a U.S. government source who revealed its existence to The Diplomat on Wednesday.
The U.S. military intelligence says the new submarine, designated ‘Sinpo-C-class’ has a displacement of 2,000 tons and a beam (width) of 36 feet. The sub will carry at least one and perhaps two or more submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The vessel is likely the largest ever to be built for the Korean People’s Navy since the Najin-class frigates, the source said.
A 38 North analysis from October 11 had also detected signatures of ongoing shipbuilding at Sinpo suggestive of a new submarine. "Given the continued movement in the parts yards [at the Sinpo shipyard], a shipbuilding program is probably underway," the website reported, citing satellite images captured on September 21.
North Korea currently has one ballistic missile submarine (SSB), the Gorae ("Whale"), also known as Sinpo-B by U.S. intelligence. First detected via satellite in 2014, the Gorae displaces 1,700 tons and is capable of launching the Pukguksong-1 missile. The Pukguksong-1 is a two-stage missile with an estimated range of 745 miles.