North Korea’s new target ship

Now that we are all looking at Sinpo for signs of further activity involving the TULP (Towed Underwater Launch Platform) and the collocated floating drydock at the semi-refurbished construction hall, I wanted to bring your attention to an interesting vessel I have been following for a few months.  Its purpose is not entirely understood and it has been moving between at least three different naval bases on North Korea’s east coast since September 2020. While this is a bit speculative, I think we might be looking at a target ship for future cruise missile testing.The ship has been moving around over the past year.  The earliest I pinned the ship on satellite imagery was between September and October 2020 at the Chaho Naval base just north of Sinpo.  It was near this location where Kim Jong Un observed an SLBM test in April 2016, and at the naval base where he received the submariners after the test. Sometime before November 20th, 2020, the ship moved to the Yoho-ri Naval Base. Then it stayed until it was caught in a Planet Labs SkySat image on December 22nd being brought to the shipyard at Mayang-do, opposite the Sinpo South Naval Shipyard. Tarao Goo has identified the construction location at Chongjin, where the vessel was modified sometime after May 1st 2020.

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