North Korea's state media on Sunday released photos of its latest test firing, raising speculations that Pyongyang has developed a new surface-to-surface tactical missile.
The Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) released photos of a missile being fired from a transporter erector launcher equipped with two launcher tubes with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un overseeing.
The KCNA said that Kim guided the test launch of "another new weapon system" which was developed to suit the country's terrain condition and has an "advantageous tactical character different from existing weapon systems."
Experts said the new weapon launched on Saturday showed similar traits to the U.S. Army's tactical missile system known as ATACMS.
Shin Jong-woo, a representative secretary of the Korea Defense and Security Forum, assessed the North's new weapon as a tactical surface-to-surface missile similar to the U.S. missile system. He added that the new missile seemed to be one that disperses its submunitions from the warhead.
If assessments are correct, North Korea in recent months has test-fired short-range ballistic missiles presumed to be KN-23s, a modified version of a Russian Iskander missile, a large-caliber multiple rocket launcher system and the new surface-to-surface missile.
Defense experts say Pyongyang’s weapons launched recently have longer ranges, lower apogees and faster maximum speeds, along with the capability of being fired from transporter erector launchers using solid fuel.