North Korea’s new hypersonic missile poses a potential threat to America in the Pacific region

North Korea announced today that it test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on Sunday. Which runs on solid fuel and has hypersonic flight, a type of weapon that Pyongyang has not tested since 2022 and which could pose a future threat to US bases in the Pacific.

“The purpose of the test was to verify the gliding and navigation characteristics of the intermediate-range hypersonic maneuverable controlled warhead, as well as the reliability of the recently developed high-performance solid fuel engine for the various stages (of the projectile).” he explained. State agency KCNA, which said the test was “conducted successfully.”

(Also read: What is known about Kim Ju-ae, daughter and potential successor of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un).

KCNA did not mention the presence of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during the broadcast. Made by the recently created General Directorate of Missiles, some analysts believe this description indicates the missile may be in the early stages of development.

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First test after 2022

The North Korean regime has already tested missiles in 2021 and 2022 with what it calls “hypersonics” (those that fly at least five times faster than sound), However in that case they used liquid fuel considered less efficient.

The only photo published today by KCNA of this new missile shows a head that appears to be of the MaRV type (in English it is short for “maneuverable reentry vehicle”), which are capable of steering and modifying their trajectory to dodge anti-missile systems.

(Read more: 5 things you didn’t know about North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un).

Missiles tested in 2021 and 2022 were equipped with a warhead similar to this new missile.

In any case, the apparent trajectory used (according to Seoul, the projectile flew 1,000 kilometers before falling into the Sea of ​​Japan)While Tokyo talks about only 500 kilometers of travel and about 12 minutes in the air) it would theoretically not work to test the MaRV’s maneuverability of an IRBM missile, It is designed to strike targets located at least 3,000 kilometers away.

new solid fuel engines

The two solid fuel engines apparently used in this new missile were tested on a test bench As Pyongyang announced in mid-November, many expected the regime would soon subject them to the first flight test.

It is also believed that a failed launch from around Pyongyang on November 23 may be consistent with this projectile.

Unlike liquid fuel, solid fuel allows the missile to be stored already loaded with propellant, resulting in faster deployment at launch And the projectile becomes more difficult to destroy by preemptive attack.

still, This new weapon under development poses a potential threat to targets in the Asia Pacific area of ​​operations.As is the case with US bases in Japan or on the island of Guam, which are about 3,500 kilometers from where the IRBM was fired yesterday.

(We recommend: North Korea launches a new series of firings and tensions rise with South Korea).

violation of sanctions

Following North Korea’s announcement this Monday, the JCS said in a statement that this latest launch violates UN resolutions that prohibit Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology and warned that if the North ” If he chose to take “direct” action, he would respond “forcefully.” Provoke.”

In turn, the announcement about the test of the new missile coincided with the departure of North Korea’s Foreign Minister, Choe Son-hui, who is going to Russia to carry it out. The three-day visit, which begins today and in which he is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, is expected to take place, although neither Pyongyang nor Moscow have provided any details.,

Choe’s visit coincides with the emergence of new evidence suggesting that the regime transferred to Russia short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), in addition to hundreds of thousands of artillery rounds, which it has used in various attacks against Ukraine in the past. I have done it. December .

The cooperation agreement, through which Pyongyang appeared to receive technical assistance from Moscow to launch its first spy satellite into orbit in November, was drawn up during a summit held by Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September Was.

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