SEOUL, May 08 (Yonhap) — The North Korean submarine that fired a ballistic missile from the water on Saturday is the one that had to be towed ashore due to engine trouble following a previous missile test firing in October last year, sources said on Sunday. .
The North is believed to have repaired the Gorae-class vessel since the October 19 test firing which also took place in the waters off the eastern coastal town of Sinpo, where the main Northern Submarine Shipyard.
Due to damage to its engine from the impact of the gunfire at the time, the 2,000 ton class submarine could not move on its own and had to be towed by a tug to Sinpo shipyard. , according to military and intelligence authorities.
“Although the extent of the damage has not been precisely determined, it was not in a condition where it could move on its own. It had to be towed,” said a source on condition of anonymity.
The North could have carried out the October firings in a rush without much preparation, as South Korea had successfully tested two submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) the previous month, becoming the seventh country in the world to own local SLBMs.
Sources said South Korean and US intelligence had detected signs of North repairs to the submarine until recently, before the vessel was used in the SLBM launch on Saturday.
No signs have yet appeared indicating damage to the ship since the last launch.
The Gorae-class submarine, which is 67 meters long and 7 meters wide, is said to be the only type capable of firing missiles among North Korean submarines.