A new submarine, named Hero Kim Kun Ok, has been launched by North Korea for patrols in the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan. According to experts, it is believed to be a modified Soviet-era Romeo-class submarine armed with ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. However, due to its noisy, slow, and limited range, it may be vulnerable in combat.
South Korea’s military has expressed skepticism about the submarine’s readiness and exaggerated capabilities. Despite this, North Korea’s naval forces are expanding and strengthening, with plans to equip existing submarines and build nuclear-powered ones.
The launch of the submarine has been met with condemnation by South Korea and Japan, as North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. It is designated as “tactical,” meaning it carries smaller, short-range missiles rather than those capable of reaching the US mainland. However, North Korea may aim to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads in the future.