ROK Successfully Fires ‘SLBM’ from Submarine
(Source: South Korean Ministry of National Defense; issued Sept. 30, 2021)
A sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) installed on the Dosan Anchangho submarine was launched off Korea’s eastern coast and hit its target, Korea’s defense ministry officially announced today. (ROK MoD photo)
Our military successfully test-fired a locally-developed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from a new submarine. This test will make our country the seventh country in the world to successfully fire an SLBM.

“We successfully test-fired the country’s first SLBM from a submarine at the general test field of the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), with President Moon Jae-in and Minister of National Defense Suh Wook in attendance. Previously, there have been only six countries, including the United States (US), Russia, China, the United Kingdom (UK), France, and India, that have successfully fired an SLBM from a submarine,” the ADD announced, in a statement released on the afternoon of September 15.

The SLBM was launched from ‘Dosan Anchangho,’ the first 3000-ton class submarine which had been dried on a Korean technology, off the coast. It struck the target despite severe weather conditions, including an approaching typhoon.

The SLBM launch process consists of ‘cold launch,’ a core technology that ignites the missile engine after vertically pushing the missile out of the water with air pressure, followed by booster ignition, main propellant engine ignition, long-range flight, and firing. A previous injection test had demonstrated only booster ignition or the main propellant engine ignition in a water tank.

Wednesday's test demonstrated all the processes, from a missile launched from the submarine to main propellant engine ignition and final firing.

“Augmenting our missile capabilities can create a definite deterrence against North Korean provocations,” Moon said while attending the test, stressing “We have demonstrated our adequate deterrence against North Korean provocations through this successful missile test-launch.”

Moon also asked the ADD to “do its best to achieve a powerful defense strength by continuing to augment our overwhelming missile forces against North Korean asymmetric warfare capabilities." He also praised the ADD officials for their hard work, clarifying that “Defense science serves as peacekeeping power, protecting the livelihoods of the public, and the economy. The government will be supportive of the defense science technology area.”

The ADD also conducted a test to release a long-range air-to-surface missile from an aircraft. The missile will be mounted on the KF-21 Boramae, a next generation fighter jet under development with Korean technology. In the test, the long-range air-to-surface missile spread its wings after being released from an aircraft, and then struck the target after flying toward it with precision.

A long-range air-to-surface missile is currently under research and development. The ongoing development aims to have more excellent stealth performance and longer range, as well as replace missiles imported from abroad. The ADD also expects that the missile will significantly strengthen the export competitiveness of the KF-21, on which the missile will be mounted.

The ADD also said that it had successfully developed a ‘high power ballistic missile’ that has a significantly increased missile payload and a ‘supersonic cruise missile’ that helps strengthen the capability to deny access to maritime forces.

The ADD predicted that this locally-developed high-power ballistic missile will serve as a key force projecting our overwhelming reaction capabilities in an emergency, as well as boosting our military’s deterrence capabilities in times of peace.

The supersonic cruise missile has some significantly enhanced performance metrics compared to existing missiles, including an upgraded flight speed. The ADD also announced that it had successfully completed the ‘combustion test for a solid-propellant engine for space launch vehicles’ in July.

This test enabled the ADD to secure the technology for a propellant engine for space launch vehicles which can put small satellites into low earth orbit. The ADD believes that this technology will greatly contribute to the development of the domestic space industry when it is transferred to the private sector.

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