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N. Korea Claims Successful Development of Solid-Fuel Hypersonic Weapons

Written: 2024-04-03 14:50:22Updated: 2024-04-03 17:03:35

N. Korea Claims Successful Development of Solid-Fuel Hypersonic Weapons

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: North Korea said Wednesday that it has successfully test-fired a new intermediate-range hypersonic ballistic missile. According to the North’s state-run media outlets, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un guided the testing of the Hwasong-16 missile tipped with a hypersonic warhead, which the South Korean military detected the previous day. 
KimBum-soo has more.
Report: North Korea said Wednesday that the projectile it launched the previous day was carrying a "hypersonic gliding warhead."

[Sound bite: Korean Central Television newsreader (Korean-English/Apr. 3)]

While releasing heavily-edited video footage of the launch, media outlets in Pyongyang said the new missile hit a pre-set target in the East Sea.
Hypersonic weapons, referring to glide vehicles deployed by ballistic or cruise missiles, can change their flight paths, making it more challenging for missile defense systems to intercept them.
The state-run media also carried images of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watching the launch of the new missile, dubbed the "Hwasongpho-16B." 

[Sound bite: Korean Central Television newsreader (Korean-English/Apr. 3)]

Kim was cited as saying that all of the North’s tactical and strategic missiles are now solid-fuel based and nuclear capable.
Retired Lt. Gen. Chun In-bum, a former commander of the South Korean special operations command, said the latest development calls for more effective missile defense capabilities. 
[Sound bite: Retired Lt. Gen. Chun In-bum (Korean-English)]
"... the North Koreans have rockets that are now solid-fuel based, which means they can be launched anywhere and at any time. It adds the element of surprise to its weapons system, as well as mobility... And with the speed of the rockets, it makes it difficult for us to shoot down these missiles. But the real challenge is the maneuverability of these warheads, which will make them more difficult to shoot down."

The military expert said that there are new missile defense technologies in the development stage that will be able to surmount the evolving nuclear threats from the North. 

He also called for the boosting of active defense capabilities, saying that in the event of a contingency the most effective way to counter hypersonic weapons is to destroy them before they are launched. 

South Korean and Japanese militaries on Tuesday detected an intermediate range missile launch from near Pyongyang toward its eastern coast. 
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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