OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 10:22 AM – Friday, March 24, 2023
North Korea claimed that they have tested a new underwater drone capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, which could potentially create a “radioactive tsunami” on Friday.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has reported that the “Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Craft ‘Haeil’” was tested from March 21 to March 23. The drone had cruised off the east coast of the nation for about 60 hours at a depth of 80 to 150 meters, before detonating the test warhead that it had been carrying.
The KCNA said that the weapon had been in development since 2012 and was tested over 50 times in the past two years.
“The mission of the underwater nuclear strategic weapon is to stealthily infiltrate into operational waters and make a super-scale radioactive tsunami through underwater explosion to destroy naval striker groups and major operational ports of the enemy,” the KCNA said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had supervised the test, and said that the exercise should come as a warning to the United States and South Korea.
According to the news agency, Kim was “greatly satisfied” with the results of the test, and wanted to “make the U.S. imperialists and the South Korea puppet regime plunge into despair” after the joint military exercises that the two countries had recently conducted in the region.
The KCNA also reported that the latest test had “verified its reliability and safety and fully confirmed its lethal strike capability.”
Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said that the weapon is the first of its kind.
“It is very difficult to be detected in advance by any reconnaissance or interceptor assets that South Korea and the United States have so far,” he said. “North Korea is showing a behavioural pattern of responding with ‘nuclear weapons’ to all military responses against the past, ongoing and future [US-South Korea] joint exercises.”
The new drone is similar to the Russian Poseidon torpedoes, which is a submarine-launched, nuclear-powered, unmanned underwater vehicle, capable of carrying nuclear munition. The Poseidon torpedo can reportedly create radioactive ocean swells, and nuclear tsunamis which could destroy coastal cities.
However, Russia has offered no proof of any successful tests of its weapon, and experts suggest that it is years away from being deployment ready. Similarly, experts are skeptical of North Korea’s new weapon due to the nation’s history of exaggerating its capabilities and deployment timelines.
The news of the recent test comes after a series of nuclear tests were conducted by North Korea as well, which had raised tensions in the area.
Pyongyang had recently increased the frequency of tests in the past year as it seeks to project its strength on the world stage.
On Wednesday, North Korea had launched cruise missiles into the sea. Three days before, the North had also carried out what was described as a simulated nuclear attack on South Korea, according to Seoul.
The North Korean regime also recently claimed that 800,000 of its citizens had joined or re-enlisted in the military in order to fight the United States.
The United States and South Korea have not yet made any comments in regards to the new weapon test by the North. However, South Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, had recently accused North Korea of “reckless provocations.”
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