January 29, 2024 – 05:28
Kim Jong Un watches the testing of submarine-launched drones – Photograph: KCNA/AFP
North Korea has once again tested submarine-launched robotic aircraft, which may also be capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to MTI, referring to media affiliated with the North Korean Communist Party. Kim Jong Un also watched the test.
The Pulhvaszal-3-31 combat devices were launched from a submarine on Sunday. They flew for approximately 124 minutes before they reached their targets, which were on a small island in the Sea of Japan.
According to the Communist Party, the North Korean regime leader also inspected a project to build a nuclear-powered submarine. According to the North's Korean Central News Agency, Kim Jong Un described the nuclear arming of the navy as an urgent matter.
North Korea last tested underwater nuclear weapons systems on January 19 in response to joint military exercises conducted by the United States, South Korea and Japan. Last September, North Korea unveiled its first submarine, which it says is capable of launching nuclear weapons. But since March 2023, state media have also reported on the testing of several underwater drones equipped with nuclear weapons. Relatively little is known about these weapons and their alleged performance, but analysts say they are less important than the long-range nuclear ballistic missiles that North Korea has tested several times in the past year.