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North Korea test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile

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By NewsGram Staff Writer
 
North Korea has successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), a news report said.Pictures circulating in country’s media showed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looking towards a missile shot out of water. The picture also showed red lettering on the side of the missile, which read as “bukgeungsong,” meaning “north star” or “polaris”.According to a report by a Xinhua news agency, Kim Jong-un hailed the newly developed missile as a “world-level strategic weapon.” It quoted the North Korean leader saying that the Korean military now possess a “world-level strategic weapon capable of striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces that infringe upon Korea’s sovereignty and dignity.”

The report stated that the test was carried out by a sub that dived to launch depth on the sounding of a combat alarm.

“After a while, the ballistic missile soared into the sky from underwater,” the agency reported.

A fully-developed SLBM capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and the potential to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.

Earlier this year, satellite images had revealed the conning tower of a new North Korean submarine, which according to US analysts appeared to house one or two vertical launch tubes for either ballistic or cruise missiles.

These analysts had also said at the time that developing an operational SLBM capability would cost a lot and it would take “years” for North Korea to achieve that.

Dan Pinkston, Korean expert at the International Crisi Group said, “If this is what North Korea claims it is, then it has come much sooner than anyone expected.”

“An SLBM capability would certainly increase the credibility of the North’s retaliatory threat, but I’d like to see what foreign intel says about this test,” he added.

While it not hidden that the North has been running an active ballistic missile development programme, expert opinion is split about its progress.

There have also been contrasting opinions on whether the North has acquired ability to miniaturize a nuclear device that would fit onto a delivery missile.

Last year in September, the Defence Ministry of South Korea cited intelligence reports that Pyongyang was perceived to be developing a vertical missile launch tube for submarine use.

The Ministry officials reported that the North’s 3,000-tonne Golf-class submarine could be modified to fire medium-range ballistic missiles.

In 2012, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit, which was condemned by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test that led to tightening of UN sanctions.

This latest test of submarine launching ballistic missile was reportedly termed as an “eye-opening success,” which was at a par with the 2012 satellite launch.

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Airbus Defense Division Seeks New Partners to Expand in The Growing US Space Market

Airbus is ramping up production of more than 640 refrigerator-sized satellites for start-up telecoms services provider OneWeb

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Pop.Up Next, a prototype designed by Audi, Airbus and Italdesign is displayed at the Amsterdam Drone Week in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018. VOA

Airbus’ defense division is looking for new partners to expand its presence in the growing U.S. space market, and could potentially build components for a lunar program there, Airbus Defense and Space Chief Executive Dirk Hoke told Reuters.

Airbus is ramping up production of more than 640 refrigerator-sized satellites for start-up telecoms services provider OneWeb at a facility in Florida, that Hoke said would already give it some leverage in the U.S. market.

The company could also produce components in the United States for its European Support Module, a critical part of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, if that is modified as a module to access the moon, Hoke told Reuters at the Paris Airshow.

“We’re also looking for new partners, with whom we could expand our footprint in the U.S.,” he said. “We have some very good products and systems so it’s worthwhile to look at what we can do beyond what we do currently in Europe.”

 

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Airbus’ defense division is looking for new partners to expand its presence in the growing U.S. space market. Pixabay

Airbus’s defense and space division has long hoped to expand operations in the U.S. market, but lost out to Boeing on a lucrative U.S. Air Force refueling plane contract in 2011.

The company, which builds satellites and works with France’s Safran to build rocket launchers, now hopes the projected “new space” economy, which experts say could be worth $1 trillion a year, could give it another shot at a bigger U.S. role.

Hoke faulted European leaders for failing to articulate a clear, unified vision for its ambitions in the space business, and said they were essentially ceding leadership to the United States and billionaire private investors, such as Elon Musk.

“This is more than just a billionaire’s race to Mars. It is about having sovereign access to space, having access to resources in the long term, and of course, unfortunately, it is also a question of defense.”

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Failing to take action and jump start new research and development program would leave Europe “in the second and third row position,” he said, noting that it would also cause a brain drain of top talent.

Rick Ambrose, head of U.S. arms maker Lockheed Martin’s space division, the lead contractor on the Orion spacecraft, told Reuters his company was in preliminary discussions with Airbus about possibly the adapting the European Support Module to bring humans to the moon and back to an orbiting lunar station.

Ambrose said no decisions had been made, but it was “a logical conclusion” that some of the items developed by Airbus for the Orion spacecraft could be used to achieve U.S. President Donald Trump’s goal of putting humans back on the Moon by 2024.

“Getting to the moon by 2024 means …. we’re going to have to reuse everything we can reuse,” he said at the air show. (VOA)