North Korea test fires homegrown anti-ship short range missiles

Feb 10, 2015 16:15 IST

North Korea on 8 February 2015 test fired homegrown anti-ship short range missiles. The missiles were tested off its east coast.

The missiles hit the sea after about 200 km (120 miles). This is the first time the ship and the missiles have been shown by North Korean state media.

The homegrown missile was developed by Korean People's Army from a new class of ship. The vessel is an attempt by the North Koreans to develop a high-speed stealth ship-killer using a surface effect hull—a combination of catamaran and hovercraft.

Surface Effect Ships (SESs) have a pair of rigid outer hulls surrounding a central air-cushion system that allows them to skim along the surface of the ocean and use more efficient marine propellers. Earlier, smaller KPA Navy SES patrol craft have reportedly reached speeds of 50 knots (90 kilometers per hour, or 57.6 miles per hour) and have incorporated some stealth features, such as faceted hull and superstructure designs intended to reduce their radar reflection.

However, the new SESs are bigger—as much as 40 meters (131 feet) long—and carry four of a new class of anti-ship missile derived from the Russian-made Kh-35 Uran—a sea-skimming missile with a range of over 250 kilometers (135 nautical miles) similar to the US' Harpoon missile.

It's not known if the North Korean built version has that sort of range, but during tests it was said to have hit and sunk a target ship 100 kilometers away. The SES is also equipped with two North Korean AK-630 30mm Gatling gun close-in weapons systems, four machine gun turrets, and a short-range anti-aircraft missile system.


The purpose of the test fire of the new missiles is to defend its waters and strongly react to any attempt of the enemy's fleets of warships for military attack, through close combat or distant combat.

North Korea frequently fires short-range missiles off its coast as part of military drills. The United Nations imposed sanctions banning North Korea from launching longer-range ballistic missiles, but not short-range missiles.

North Korea has increased the scale of air and naval military drills in recent weeks ahead of the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises on the Korean peninsula.

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