SEOUL, Aug. 25 (UPI) — North Korea‘s swift progress in submarine-launched ballistic missile technology is raising concerns in South Korea.
In response to the increased provocations, the South Korean military is developing and testing a submarine-launched mobile mine to detect and destroy incoming North Korean submarines, South Korean television network MBC reported.
After testing is complete, South Korea expects to go into production late 2017, according to the report.
Mobile mines travel from submarines to a target destination, such as a North Korean submarine base.
When a signal of the departure of North Korea submarines or naval vessels is received, the object is targeted. The detonating mine creates a bubble jet effect that destroys the target, according to the report.
The bubble jet effect was also the cause of the destruction of the South Korean warship Cheonan in 2010. International investigators concluded a North Korean torpedo had torn the boat in half and caused the vessel to sink.
South Korea’s mobile mines would be used as an instrument of pre-emptive strike in a scenario in which North Korea initiates a submarine attack.
In August 2015, North Korea reportedly dispatched more than 50 submarines as tensions escalated on the peninsula after land mine explosions injured two South Korean soldiers.
South Korea’s military was unable to detect any of the submarines in the Yellow Sea or the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.
South Korea’s mobile mines use a rechargeable lithium polymer battery and can travel more than 12 miles after launch.
Kim Dae-young, an analyst at the Korea Defense and Security Forum, said the installation of South Korean mobile mines near North Korean submarines would make it more difficult for Pyongyang to launch SLBMs.