March 13 (UPI) — North Korea may be developing anti-ship ballistic missiles, multiple Seoul government officials say.
The “carrier killer” projectiles capable of hitting offshore moving targets – like navy vessels – were tested during North Korea’s most recent missile test on March 6, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Tuesday, local time.
The ASBM, unlike other ballistic missiles, can move at high speeds to directly hit a supercarrier with a single strike. The missile can modify its trajectory as its target moves and requires a precise high-performance terminal guidance system.
One South Korean government official who spoke to the JoongAng on the condition of anonymity said North Korea has developed “missile guidance and course correction technology,” and that it was “tested in September 2016 and again on March 6, when [North Korea] test-launched four Scud-ER missiles.”
The source also said during North Korea’s September test of Scud-ER missiles, all three rockets landed around the same point.
“At the time North Korea was supposed to have fired at offshore targets,” the official said.
The ASBM is a weapons system typically used by militaries with a relatively weak naval force.
China and Iran are currently the only countries that deploy ASBMs to target offshore assets.
U.S. and South Korea intelligence authorities suspect North Korea began to acquire ASBM technology from Iran in the ’90s, according to the JoongAng.
Iran recently launched two short-range ballistic missiles, including the Fateh-110 Mod 3, which has an “active seeker” that helps the rocket locate ships at sea.