Commercial satellite imagery of the Nampo Naval Shipyard from September 18 revealed that the second of two submersible test stand barges for North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program, first observed in 2017 and subsequently refurbished, was berthed at the quay and likely operational.
While there was no evidence of any test-related activity, a light-colored van was parked on the quay adjacent to the barge. The van likely supported a work crew that may have been tasked with maintenance or inspection of the barge, or possibly non-barge related activity at the boat basin. It is reasonable to conclude that the barge is now complete and would require continued upkeep to remain a viable part of North Korea’s ballistic missile program.
Figure 1. Overview of Nampo Naval Shipyard, test stand barge visible.