A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu and Peter Makowsky
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.