Strategic Weapons: North Korean SLBMs

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May 17, 2007: Satellite photos of a North Korea parade in late April appear to show an upgraded version of a 1960s Russian ballistic missile, the SSN6 (called by the Russians, the R27). This 14 ton missile used storable liquid fuel, and entered service in 1968 on Russian SSBNs (ballistic missile submarines.) At that time, it was a single stage missile, with a range of 2,500 kilometers, and a .6 ton warhead. The North Koreas appear to have added a second stage, and extended the range of this SLBM (Sea Launched Ballistic Missile) to 5,000 kilometers. However, this is all speculation, based on years old rumors that North Korea had gotten their hands on the plans for the SSN6, and used it to build a longer range missile. What is known of North Korean ballistic missiles is that they are crude, and not as reliable as Western missiles. So whatever the North Koreans have, it's not nearly as much of a threat as the headlines make it out to be.

 


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