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North Korea claims to have examined a nuclear-capable underwater drone. Analysts are skeptical

Seoul, South Korea CNN  — 

North Korea on Friday claimed to have examined an underwater drone able to carrying a nuclear warhead that would create a “radioactive tsunami,” nonetheless, analysts urged skepticism noting a scarcity of proof.

A report from the state-run Korean Central Information Company (KCNA) stated the drone, referred to as the “Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Assault Craft ‘Haeil,’” was examined from March 21 to 23, cruising in waters off the nation’s east coast for greater than 59 hours earlier than its take a look at warhead was detonated on Thursday afternoon.

“The mission of the underwater nuclear strategic weapon is to stealthily infiltrate into operational waters and make a super-scale radioactive tsunami via underwater explosion to destroy naval striker teams and main operational ports of the enemy,” the KCNA report stated.

The KCNA report stated the weapon has been in improvement since 2012 and has undergone greater than 50 assessments previously two years.

This week’s take a look at “verified its reliability and security and absolutely confirmed its deadly strike functionality,” the KCNA report stated, including the drone could be deployed from any port or towed by a floor ship to start its operations.

Analysts poured doubt on North Korea’s claims, noting that North Korea has beforehand exaggerated its capabilities and deployment time traces.

“Pyongyang’s newest declare to have a nuclear-capable underwater drone needs to be met with skepticism” as a result of North Korea provided no proof, stated Leif-Eric Easley, affiliate professor of worldwide research at Ewha Womans College in Seoul.

In March 2022, North Korea launched footage of what it claimed was a brand new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that was later discredited by specialists.

Writing on social media Friday, Ankit Panda, a nuclear coverage knowledgeable on the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, stated: “I are likely to take North Korea critically, however can’t rule out the chance that that is an try at deception.”

He added that it will be “ill-advised” to allocate restricted fissile materials for a warhead in an underwater drone, versus a extra “road-mobile” ballistic missiles.

North Korean state media says leader Kim Jong Un "personally guided" a test of a simulated underwater nuclear strategic weapon on March 21, according to KCNA.

However the thought of an unmanned submersible carrying a nuclear warhead just isn’t distinctive to North Korea.

Russia claims to have developed the Poseidon torpedo, a submarine-launched, nuclear-powered unmanned underwater automobile able to carrying each typical and nuclear munitions. Its nuclear propulsion system would give the Poseidon nearly limitless vary.

However Russia has provided no proof of a profitable take a look at of the Poseidon and analysts suspect it may very well be years from deployment.

North Korea’s purported new underwater weapon has essential variations from the Poseidon.

It’s conventionally powered and isn’t launched from a sub, that means it will not be on a par with the Russian torpedo, the analysts stated.

Missile assessments

North Korea’s drone take a look at declare comes on the identical time Pyongyang stated it examined nuclear-capable cruise missiles this week.

4 of the subsonic missiles hit targets within the East Sea, also called the Sea of Japan, after flying oval and figure-Eight patterns of 1,500 and 1,800 kilometers (932 and 1,118 miles) on Wednesday, KCNA reported.

Wednesday’s drill “let strategic cruise missile items get acquainted with the procedures and processes for finishing up the tactical nuclear assault missions,” the report stated.

Image from North Korean state media released Friday shows a cruise missile in flight.

The state-run Rodong Sinmun launched a sequence of pictures on its web site purportedly exhibiting the cruise missiles and the underwater drone.

The KCNA report stated Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons improvement was essential to counter “the reckless navy provocations being escalated by the U.S. and the South Korean authorities.”

US and South Korean forces have been holding their largest warfare video games in 5 years on the southern a part of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea has been testing varied missiles on the identical time, together with the take a look at of an intercontinental ballistic missile final week and the assessments of smaller vary missiles just like the cruise missiles examined on Wednesday.

Analysts say Pyongyang is delivering a message to the US and its allies within the area.

“North Korea’s ICBM assessments are thinly veiled threats that it may probably destroy American cities,” Easley stated. “Its latest short-range missile firings try to extend the credibility, command, and management of its self-proclaimed tactical nuclear weapons items geared toward South Korea and Japan.”

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