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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

KN-17 Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile [ASBM]

The KN18 is the SRBM with terminal maneuverability that North Korea first flight-tested in late-May 2017. That missile was first seen at the April 15, 2017 military parade in Pyongyang, it was initially and erroneously assumed to have been a KN-17 anti-ship ballistic missile.

South Korea's intelligence agency told lawmajers that North Korea is focused on developing a "middle stage" [medium range?] missile for its goal to build an intercontinental ballistic missile. During a meeting of the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said the North's KN-17 antiship missile had a range of five thousand kilometers [this makes little sense], enabled by a new type of liquid propulsion engine. Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Yi Wan-young, a member of the intelligence committee, passed on that assessment 15 June 2017.

The KN-17 is a North Korean counterpart to the Chinese DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, nicknamed the “carrier killer.” By 2010 China was developing a new class of ballistic missiles that can be used against moving targets such as ships. One such technology is anticipated to cover a range of 2,000 kilometers and operate at a speed of Mach 10. The threat is also capable of maneuvering both during the midcourse and terminal flight phases for the purposes of guidance, target acquisition, and countermeasures. This threat, either Chinese of North Korean, could greatly impact the current concept of operations of US Navy ships and alter national defense policies.

If supported by a sophisticated command and control system with accurate, real-time target data from terrestrial, aerial and space-based sensors, such ASBMs could pose a significant threat to US Navy assets. While China may have the sensor element of such a Kill Chain, it is far from evident that the DPRK has the requisite target acquisition capabilities.

On 14 April 2017, North Korea issued new threats against the US: "The world would clearly see how the US' rash, arrogant aircraft carriers turn into a lump of scrap metal and gets buried at sea, and how the country vanishes from the Earth," state-run website Uriminzokkiri said. "Our super-hard-line responses include sudden, pre-emptive strikes involving land, naval, underwater and airmobile assets."

Lucas Tomlinson at FoxNews reported April 17, 2017 that "North Korea failed to launch a new type of ballistic missile, which exploded four seconds after launch. U.S. officials told Fox News the North Korean missile was a KN-17, a new type of Scud, which could be used to target ships... “The only way a Scud gets a new designation is if it is substantially different,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. "

On May 1, 2017 Kim Jong-un said they will sink US aircraft carrier if it gets any closer to the Communist nation's waters. Kim Jong-un threatened to destroy USS Michigan, an American naval submarine, if it got any closer to the Communist nation's waters. The Ohio-class nuclear-powered submarine was docked at a naval base in South Korea's Busan. Pyongyang warned that if the USS Michigan "tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming a underwater ghost. ... The urgent fielding of the nuclear submarine in the waters off the Korean peninsula, timed to coincide with the deployment of the super aircraft carrier strike group, is intended to further intensify military threats toward our republic," a North Korean website claimed.

Pyongyang also warned of sinking the USS Carl Vinson if it edged any closer to the North. "Whether it's a nuclear aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine, they will be turned into a mass of scrap metal in front of our invincible military power centerd on the self-defence nuclear deterrence," the website said.

The KN-17 has a single, seemingly maneuvering, reentry vehicle (MaRV). The threat from a mobile medium range ballistic missile (MRBM) system deployed with a single MaRV could be capable of hitting an object the size of an aircraft carrier. While the Chinese counterpart DF-21 system might strike from distances of up to 3000 km away, the Scud-derivative displayed by the DPRK would have a range of hundreds of kilometers, depending on the mass of the warhead. The threat to the aircraft carrier might primarily derive from the kinetic energy of the warhead, rather than any explosive charge it might carry.

Iran Press TV reported 24 April 2017 that North Korea claimed it had the military power to sink an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that was approaching waters off the Korean Peninsula in "one strike." The US had deployed a strike group, including the large USS Carl Vinson carrier, to the Korean Peninsula in what is intended to be a show of force amid North Korea's advancing missile and military nuclear programs.

Pyongyang, considering the deployment an act of provocation, said that it was ready to show its own military might by sinking the "nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike." "Our revolutionary forces are combat-ready to sink a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike," read an editorial on North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Sunday 23 April 2017. The article said Pyongyang had weaponry that "can reach continental US and Asia Pacific region."

As the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier was expected to arrive in waters near the Korean Peninsula, North Korea issued a fresh threat. The North's propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri TV posted a three-and-a-half minute-long video on 27 April 2017 titled "Effects of sanctions on North Korea." The video claims that as the U.S. supercarrier approaches, the North's annihilating strikes will grow that much more powerful. It also said Pyongyang will not be startled by a mere U.S. nuclear-powered strike group and threatened to "inflict destructive punishment with no chance of survival on those who touch North Korea."

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Page last modified: 16-02-2018 19:04:53 ZULU