North Korea says it tested new solid-fuel intermediate-range missile with hypersonic warhead


Seoul: North Korea It said on Wednesday it had tested a new hypersonic intermediate-range missile powered by solid propellant, boosting the performance of the weapon that is deepening the nuclear standoff with neighbors and. United States of america,
With the reported success of the test, North Korean leaders Kim Jong Un announced that his country had achieved the ability to manufacture Solid fuel, nuclear capable systems for all range missiles, as it pursues an arsenal that could potentially threaten rivals in Asia and the United States.
The North Korean state media report came a day after South Korean and Japanese militaries detected the North launching missiles toward the East Sea from near its capital.
North Korean state media said the test was monitored by Kim, who has described the Hwasong-16B missile as a key part of his nuclear war deterrent, using it to counter his “enemies” in a reference to the United States and South Korea. Vowed to develop further. And Japan.
The Korean Central News Agency said Kim said the North had now developed nuclear-capable, solid-fuel systems for “all tactical, operational and strategic missiles of various ranges.”
In recent years, North Korea has been focusing on developing more weapons with built-in solid propellant. Those weapons are easier to carry and conceal and can be launched faster than liquid-propellant missiles, which require refueling before launching and cannot remain fueled for long periods of time.
North Korea tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time last year, adding to its arsenal of long-range weapons targeting the US mainland. The country also has a wide range of short-range and medium-range solid-fuel missiles, which can be fired from land vehicles, ships and submarines and are potentially capable of reaching targets throughout South Korea and Japan. The North has issued provocative threats of nuclear war in recent months by demonstrating some of these missiles in exercises that it described as a simulated nuclear attack.
North Korea has also been testing hypersonic weapons designed for speeds up to five times the speed of sound since 2021. If completed, such systems could potentially pose a challenge to regional missile defense systems due to their speed and mobility. However, it is unclear whether the North's hypersonic vehicles will consistently maintain the desired speed above Mach 5 during tests in 2021 and 2022.
During Tuesday's test, the missile's hypersonic glide warhead reached a peak altitude of 101 km (62 mi) after separation from the launch rocket and flew about 1,000 km (621 mi) while performing various flight maneuvers before landing in the waters off the Korean peninsula. Miles) flew. Japan, KCNA said.
South Korean and Japanese militaries assessed that the missile had flown approximately 600 miles (372 miles), although Japan's Defense Ministry reported a similar estimate with the North Korean report.
The North also tested a purported hypersonic IRBM in January, which came years after flight-testing a liquid-fuel IRBM. Experts say that if such weapons are developed, they would be able to reach remote US targets in the Pacific, including the military base on Guam.
Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the missile tested Tuesday was likely a different system from the one tested in January, which state media did not name but would likely be the Hwasong-16A.
North Korea has unveiled two different types of hypersonic vehicles in previous tests – a conical and a wedge-shaped one. State media images show the January launch included a conical warhead while Tuesday's launch used a wedge-shaped design.
While North Korea initially tested its hypersonic warheads with liquid-fuel systems, the ability to load them on solid-fuel rockets would allow faster launches and operations, said Chang, a missile expert at South Korea's National Strategy Research Institute. Young-kyun said. ,
“In announcing that it has fully completed the denuclearization of its missiles, North Korea also stressed its commitment to arming its hypersonic missiles with nuclear weapons,” Chang said. “North Korea's development of hypersonic IRBM targets Guam, which hosts US military bases, and even Alaska.”
Tensions in the region have increased since 2022 as Kim used Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a distraction to accelerate testing of missiles and other weapons. The United States and South Korea have responded by expanding their joint training and trilateral exercises to include Japan and by intensifying their deterrence strategies built around strategic US assets.
Monitoring Tuesday's test, Kim Jong Un called on his country to further expand its nuclear and missile programs so it can achieve “overwhelming power capable of containing and restraining” its enemies, who have “recently It has shown high fever in promoting its military alliance and staging all kinds of “war exercises”.
Hours after the launch, Seoul's Defense Ministry announced that South Korea, the United States and Japan conducted a joint air exercise over the waters near South Korea's Jeju Island in which at least one nuclear-capable US B-52 The bomber was involved.
The United States has been increasing its deployment of strategic assets to the region in recent months in a show of force against North Korea, including aircraft carriers and missile-firing submarines.

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