Hwasong-14 - 28 July 2017 - 2nd Test
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says North Korea fired a ballistic missile at 11:42 PM on 28 July 2017. Suga said it is believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone after flying for about 45 minutes. Suga said the government has lodged a protest with North Korea. The US Defense Department said its analysis shows that an intercontinental ballistic missile was launched.
The missile reached an altitude of over 3,000 km in the 45 minute flight, going over 1,000 km down range, versus 39 minute flight to 2,802 km over 933 km of the first flight. The DPRK reported the missile reached an altitude of 3,724.9km and flew 998 km for 47 minutes and 12 seconds before landing in the target waters in the open sea. It seemed that a new upper stage was added to the LR-ICBM compared to the first flight.
DPRK's Rodong Sinmun reported that "Kim Jong Un guided the test-fire on the spot. He, who is always bringing about ceaseless miracles and victories, baffling imagination of the world people with his rare military wisdom, great guts and stratagem, set forth the militant task for the rocket research field to conduct another test-fire simulating the maximum range of Hwasong-14 at an early date to prove once again the reliability of the whole rocket-system. ...
"... the accurate guidance and attitude control of warhead was ensured at the atmospheric reentry at the angle launch system harsher than the actual maximum range flying conditions. The structural stability of warhead was maintained and the warhead explosion control device showed normal operation... "
Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un stated " ... the powerful war deterrence for defending the state is an inevitable strategic option and it is a precious strategic asset that can not be bartered for anything. If the Yankees brandish the nuclear stick on this land again despite our repeated warnings, we will clearly teach them manners with the nuclear strategic force which we had shown them one by one... "
"We detected and tracked a single North Korea missile launch,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters. “We assess that this was an ICBM; this was a launch that had been expected.” Davis said North Korea launched the missile from Mupyong-ni arms plant in the country’s north. He said it flew “in excess of 40 minutes” and traveled about 1,000 kilometers laterally before splashing down into the Sea of Japan, about 100 miles from Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island.
If flown on a standard trajectory it could possibly fly 10,000 kilometers, which - for the first time - would mean comfortably reaching the North-Western half of the US mainland, including Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago, although perhaps not as far as Washington DC and the East Coast. A range of 8,000 kilometers would place Seattle at risk.
Charles Vick noted " the new flight in excess of actually close to ((3,724.9 km)) altitude or so over a duration of(( 47 minute)) flight flying some ((998 km)) down range at a potential rough order magnitude range performance of ((7,950 -8,000km.)) [Close to 5,000 statute miles], versus the previous flight of 39 minute flight to 2,802 km over a range of 933 km. with an estimated range of 6,596-,7000 km. for the HS-14/KN-20.
"It suggests that: Speculating a new stage added to the LRICBM probably has been tested successfully and pared with a standardized 600-650 kilogram nuclear warhead that is in an much more advanced development state than credited, already developed constitute a near full range FR-ICBM..."
There were two factors which were unexpected. The first was the launch site -- it was also the first time a launch has been conducted from the Jagang-do region. The second was the timing. Usually Pyongyang conducts missile launches in the morning, on clear days, to achieve the best results and data. Analysts say the North could have chosen the night time for the launch to gauge the South Korean and the U.S. militaries’ preparedness or to avoid the window of time when the allies operate their missile interception system. The night time launch was also interpreted as an attempt to fully catch Washington's attention as the time difference meant it fell in the morning there.
North Korean authorities have changed how they conduct missile testing following media reports that US Special Forces had the opportunity to take out Kim Jong-un on July 4 and decided not to take the shot. Instead of allowing Kim to stroll around the launch platform for more than an hour, in broad daylight, smoking cigarettes, as he did during the early July test, North Korea’s most recent test on July 28 was conducted in the dark of night and featured multiple Kim Jong-un doppelgängers on the platform, Business Insider reported.
The late night launch and the Kim impersonators weren’t the only changes Pyongyang made to its test procedures. "Reports are [the July 28 missile] was launched from an unusual location in the heart of the country that we’d never seen before," Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at Middlebury College said on his podcast Arms Control Wonk.
The test came just days after the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issued a new assessment that stated it believed North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable ICBM as early as next year. The test also followed comments earlier in the week by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, who said, "Kim Jong Un's regime is tied to its nuclear program, and what I can tell the American people today is North Korea is capable of launching a limited missile attack. The United States military can defend against a limited North Korea attack on Seoul, Japan, and the United States."
In response to the test, South Korea's President Moon-Jae-in requested a discussion with the U.S. on deploying additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers to South Korea.
North Korea seemingly had decided not to go ahead with a missile launch to mark the 64th anniversary of the armistice that brought a ceasefire of the Korean War in July 27, 1953. In a speech at a rally to commemorate the anniversary, North’s Minister of Armed Forces Pak Yong-sik warned Washington on Wednesday not to "misjudge" the regime, and said that if enemies misunderstand their strategic status and stick to options of staging a preemptive nuclear attack against it, the North will launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. "without warning or prior notice."