Just three months after showcasing a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), North Korea displayed another one during a military parade held Thursday night.
The parade was held at Kim Il-sung square in capital Pyongyang. The North rolled out SLBMs on transporter erector launchers (TEL) labeled as the Pukguksong-5ㅅ, along with a new short-range ballistic missile and various other kinds of weaponry.
"The world's most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces," the North's Korean Central Korean News Agency (KCNA) said on Friday.
The new missile looks longer than the Pukguksong-4ㅅ SLBM, which was first unveiled during a military parade in October last year.
Experts say the newest one appears to be designed to fly longer and fit for larger-sized warheads, Yonhap News Agency reported.
"North Korea is working to develop two kinds of SLBMs at the same time. Chances are that Pukguksong-4 is expected to be equipped with its 3,000-ton-class submarine, while Pukguksong-5 could be for a 4,000-ton one or larger," Lee Choon-geun, a senior research fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, said.
As the upgraded version of the Pukguksong-1, the Pukguksong-3 SLBM is believed to have a flight range of 2,000 kilometers or longer, and the regime last carried out a flight test of the weapon in October 2019. Pukguksong-2 is a ground-based one, not an SLBM.
North Korea also displayed a new short-range ballistic missile during the parade, believed to be an upgraded version of its KN-23 missile with expected range of 1,000km resembling Russia's Iskander, Yonhap reported citing experts.
Compared to the original version, the new one has a conical warhead and the TEL added one more axle to five. Eyes are on whether it could carry nuclear warheads, as leader Kim ordered during the congress that nuclear weapons be made "small, lighter and tactical."
In October, the North had showed off a new ICBM on an 11-axle TEL, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world.