South Korea’s military is upgrading sonar capabilities in response to tests of North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles. File Photo courtesy of Republic of Korea Armed Forces
SEOUL, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- South Korea's military plans to invest more than $390 million in sonar technology for destroyers in order to deter North Korean submarines.
The funds are being allocated for 2018-27, with the goal of upgrading Seoul's detection capabilities, Yonhap news agency reported Friday.
North Korea has increased the number of tests involving submarine-launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs, in 2016.
Seoul in response has been budgeting more funds toward developing submarine tracking and detection.
South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration said Friday the agency has passed proposals to improve on two types of sonars designed to capture submarine movements through acoustic tracking systems: the hull-mounted sonar, and a towed array, which is a system of hydrophones towed behind a ship on a cable.
"When the project is completed capabilities for detection and tracking will be significantly improved, and it will enhance response capabilities directed at enemy submarines," DAPA said in its statement.
North Korea is developing submersible craft at various locations.
Writing for 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to North Korea issues, analyst Joseph Bermudez stated Friday that activity could be seen at Sinpo South Shipyard in recent commercial satellite imagery.
According to Bermudez, images show a "10-meter-in-diameter circular component outside the facility's recently renovated fabrication hall," which could be a "component for the pressure hull of a new submarine."
If the object is for the construction of a new sub, it would be larger than Pyongyang's GORAE-class experimental ballistic missile submarine, the analyst writes.