Since our last look at North Korean missile capabilities, Pyongyang has taken a major step forward by developing a new model and beating previous records. Last week, the rogue leftwing regime tested a new ballistic missile on July 4, 2017.
U.S. officials told People’s Pundit Daily the was “something new.” Though it was believed to be a version of the KN-17, North Korea has designated their new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) the Hwasong-14.
It flew for 37 minutes and reached a height of 1,500 miles, or roughly 2414 kilometers, breaking the DPRK’s previous record of 30 minutes and 1,000 feet set on Mother’s Day. Rather than a single-stage, it was outfitted with a second stage, liquid propulsion system that gives Pyongyang the capability to reach the U.S.–Alaska.
It’s an improvement from the Hwasong-12, which has a maximum range of 4,500 kilometers.
“Had the same motor’s thrust been put to a range-maximizing flight path, the Hwasong-14 could have traveled as far as 7,000 kilometers, enough to reach Alaska and well in range of Guam,” claimed Thomas Karako, a Senior Fellow at the International Security Program Missile Defense Project.
“If fired in an eastward direction to take advantage of the rotation of the earth, the Hwasong-14 could potentially reach up to 8,000 kilometers, putting Hawaii at risk.”
While it was the 4,000-15,000 kilometer range Taepodong-2 that kept U.S. officials and military analysts up at night, the Hwasong-14 marks the DPRK’s first real successful test of an actual ICBM. According to the Cold War definition, an ICBM can deliver a warhead to a range of at least 5,500 kilometers.
Pyongyang claimed on state-run media the test marked the “final step” in creating a “powerful nuclear state that can strike anywhere on Earth.” That claim is false, but it doesn’t take away from North Korea’s accomplishment.
In order to reach the continental U.S., Pyongyang would still need an ICBM with a range of over 8,000 kilometers. To put the East Coast at risk, that range increases to at least 10,000 kilometers.
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