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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Hwasong-13 - ICBM

On 15 April 2015 North Korea held its big military parade to mark the 105 anniversary of the birth of regime founder Kim Il Sung. The regime showed off several new missile designs. There was a big surprise: what appeared to be a new ICBM. Experts said it could indicate that Pyongyang's missile development program is further ahead than previously thought. Pyongyang unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, that South Korean military officials say they had never seen before.

One commentator said "This was basically throwing the gauntlet down to the west...They're saying we've got this new missile and it's much bigger and it's likely got much more capability that we thought the KN-8 and 14 had." The range of new hardware on display came as a bit of a surprise, and it's been interpreted as a show of force to the U.S. President Donald Trump, who has taken an aggressive tone against Pyongyang.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un said his regime is in the "last stage" of preparations to test fire an inter-continental ballistic missile. This during his New Year's speech 01 January 2017. Kim Jong-un's address this year was evaluated to be rather bold compared to last year. He vowed to bolster the regime's weapons program, making it clear that Pyongyang is in the final stages of test launching an ICBM.

This even larger and longer variant features a canister encased missile mounted on the transporter. Although the transporter vehicle is generally the same as the other Hwasong-13 variants, it lacks any evident means of erecting the missile for launch. However, the missile canister is raised higher on the back of the transporter, suggesting that a hydraulic erector is submerged under the cannister, a design used with the Soviet SS-25 ICBM, the similarity extending even to the box on the canister above the vehicle cab.

There is no particular reason to believe the launch canister seen on parade had an actual missile inside. The wheels on the paraded vehicles were nice and round, displaying none of the compression deformation that would be expected if they were carrying a heavy load.

The missile associated with this TEL, should it exist, appears to be a three stage variant of the Pukguksong-2 SLBM/IRBM, consistent with the Iranian Seljil and Ashura variants of the Ghader-110.

On 23 August 2017 North Korea’s leader ordered the production of more rocket warheads and engines, shortly after the United States suggested that its threats of military action and sanctions were having an impact on Pyongyang’s behavior. Inspecting the country’s Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science, which develops missiles, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un instructed the workers at the plant to “produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips.”

The North Korean state news agency also released photos that appeared to show the designs of one or possibly two new missiles that had not been seen before. State media on Wednesday showed photos of leader Kim Jong Un visiting a missile development institute. One photo shows a display about an underwater strategic ballistic missile named "Pukguksong-3," which could refer to a new submarine-launched missile. The photo also shows a diagram of a 3-stage missile called "Hwasong-13." In May 2017, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile "Hwasong-12," and the country last month fired 2 "Hwasong-14" missiles, which it claims were ICBMs. Those missiles had liquid-fuel rocket engines. North Korea had not officially reported on the existence of the "Hwasong-13." But because the institute Kim visited is known to be developing solid-fuel rocket engines, it could also be working on a new land-based solid-fuel ballistic missile that can be launched faster than liquid-fuel rockets.

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Page last modified: 02-12-2017 17:42:46 ZULU