North Korea today (6/8) launched four anti-ship cruise missiles off its eastern coast, just hours after two American aircraft carriers left the area. The missiles, some of the most advanced weapons systems in Pyongyang’s arsenal, flew for more than a hundred miles before falling into the Sea of Japan.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea fired “several unidentified projectiles” from Wonsan, Gangwon Province in the direction of the Sea of Japan. The missiles flew 124 miles before falling into the sea.
As South Korea’s Yonhap News Service points out, this is the fifth round of missile launches since Seoul’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has taken office. North Korea promised that it would conduct weekly launches—a promise it has largely lived up to. The missiles were launched into the same general area that the carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan sailed in just hours earlier.
The missile first appeared in June 2014, when a brief, one-second clip (see below) of what appeared to be a Kh-35 was included without comment in a North Korean propaganda video.
The missile, which seemed to be fired from a ship, appeared similar to a Kh-35 yet had a different mounting system than missiles in North Korean service. It is unknown exactly how North Korea got its hands on Russian missiles, although one theory is that they originated in Myanmar. The missiles were likely launched from new missile launchers spotted in a parade earlier this year (see above).