Newly-developed missile and submarine put terrorist state on fast track to attacking American soil.

North Korea’s ability to strike Japan and U.S. military targets in the western Pacific grew stronger 2 weeks ago with the successful firing of a ballistic missile from a submarine.

The KN-11 missile broke apart in flight, but the launch was the first successful test-firing of a missile from its Sinpo-class submarine.

The test was confirmed by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Strategic Command.  American military officials viewed the test with great caution.

“With every launch, they’re getting better and they’re working out their problems,” U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, current Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, tells the Associated Press.

The ability to fire missiles from a submarine marks the birth of a new threat posed by the regime.  While North Korea does have intercontinental missiles capable of striking the western United States, such an attack cannot be launched in a surprise manner.  Firing their ICBMs would require North Korea to prepare their launch sites.  The United States is continually monitoring these sites by satellite.

But a missile strike from a submarine can be launched without prior warning.  It can also be launched closer to the target, reducing the amount of time the United States would have to identify the launch, or attempt to intercept it.

The sub’s KN-11 missile has a range of at least 30 kilometers.  That places many major East and West coast cities within its reach once North Korea improves its submarine technology.

Sinpo-class submarines were developed and are being built in North Korea to replace its aging fleet of obsolete, 1950-era Romeo class subs.  The diesel-powered antiques were sold off in the 1960’s by the Soviet Union when the development of nuclear submarines rendered them obsolete.

The new sub is believed to have a range of only 2,800 kilometers, which puts the United States out of its reach.

But it does pose a threat to Japanese and U.S. Navy ships in the region. Continuing advances in North Korean military technology could allow the Sinpo-class sub to reach American shores, something German subs were able to do 70 years ago.

North Korea has nuclear warheads, but they have yet to “miniaturize” a nuclear warhead so it could fit on a submarine-based missile.  The regime is investing massive resources into developing that technology.

In March, North Korea generated worldwide headlines with the release of a propaganda video showing North Korean missiles striking Washington, D.C.

The new development of submarine-launched missiles puts Pyongyang on track to have another tool to carry out that threat.