People watch a launching of a Hwasong-12 strategic ballistic rocket aired on a public TV screen at the Pyongyang Train Station in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 – Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2023 © AP Photo / Jon Chol Jin /
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced on Wednesday that it had successfully launched a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-18, the previous day. What’s the DPRK’s new wonder weapon?
The DPRK’s General Missile Bureau conducted the test-fire of new-type ICBM Hwasong-18 on July 12, calling it part of the effort to bolster the nation’s right to self-defense against a “disaster of a nuclear war” and to “thoroughly deter the dangerous military moves of the hostile forces,” according to the North Korean state media.
The nation’s media dubbed the Hwasong-18 a “core weapon system of the strategic force” of the country.
The report said that the military security situation on the Korean peninsula and in the region has dramatically worsened, blaming the US and “its vassal forces'” for unprecedented military provocations against the DPRK which have recently been intensified.
What’s the Range of the Hwasong-18 Missile?
The Hwasong-18 missile reportedly reached an altitude of 6,648.4 kilometers and traveled 1,001.2 kilometers.
North Korean state TV releases video footage of the Hwasong-18 ICBM launch stage separation – Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2023
How Long Does Hwasong-18 Take to Reach Its Target?
The Hwasong-18 traveled for 4,491 seconds (about 74 minutes) before it “accurately” landed on the targeted area in the open waters off the East Sea of Korea. The missile’s flight time has become the longest when compared to other rockets test-launched by the country. DPRK leader Kim Jong-un personally monitored the test fire, as per the nation’s media.
How Long Does It Take to Reach the US?
The ballistic missile was launched at a high angle; if fired on a normal trajectory, it would be capable of traveling more than 12,875 km easily reaching the continental United States – as per South Korean military experts – presumably, in an hour and 14 minutes.
A TV screen is seen reporting North Korea’s missile launch with file footage during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 13, 2023.
North Korea launched a ballistic missile that landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on Thursday, prompting Japan to order residents on an island to take shelter as a precaution. The order has been lifted. – Sputnik International, 1920, 12.07.2023
When Was the Hwasong-18 Tested for the First Time?
The Hwasong-18 is the first solid-fuelled ICBM developed by the DPRK. The weapon was unveiled on February 8 at the nation’s military parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army.
The first launch of the Hwasong-18 occurred on April 13. The ballistic missile flew toward the Sea of Japan for about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Photographs and video of the test showed the launch of a three-stage ICBM from a road-mobile transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) and indications of in-flight stage separation.
A U.S. Navy Lockheed EP-3E Aries II assigned to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 1 (VQ-1) World Watchers in flight over the Mediterranean Sea on 28 February 2019. – Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2023
What are Hwasong-18 Characteristics?
According to some estimates, the Hwasong-18 weighs 55-60 tons. Judging from the missile’s photographs, the rocket is 26.95 meters long; its first stage is 2.21 meters in diameter, while its second and third stages are 1.9 meters in diameter. Some observers suggested that the missile may be equipped with a single high-powered warhead or up to six multiple warheads.
According to international experts, the Hwasong-18’s first-stage dimensions are consistent with those of the large solid rocket motor the nation reportedly tested last December 15, 2022.
At the time, the DPRK media reported that Pyongyang conducted the first static (ground) test of a large solid-propellant rocket motor. Solid rocket motors allow the military to fire the weapon quicker compared to liquid-fueled missiles. Solids are also safer to handle in the field than liquids. In addition, it is easier to conceal solid ICBMs during land-mobile deployments. Solid-fueled ICBMs are also considered more stable.
Nuclear mushroom – Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2023
What Does Hwasong Mean?
Hwasong translates as “Mars,” which is both the name of the farthest terrestrial planet from the Sun and the name of the Roman god of rage and war.
When Did North Korea Start Ballistic Missile Testing?
Pyongyang started to test its intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2017. In that year, the DPRK first successfully test-launched two liquid propellant road-mobile ICBMs: the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15. A larger Hwasong-17 ICBM was displayed by Pyongyang at an October 2020 military parade. The Hwasong-17 was first test-launched in 2022.
According to the US Congressional Research Service (CRS), the DPRK’s newest ballistic missiles – including the Hwasong-14, Hwasong-15, Hwasong-17 (and Hwasong-18) – “demonstrate mobility, potency, precision, and have characteristics that make the missiles difficult to defeat in flight.”
The US observers admit that Pyongyang’s tests have demonstrated growing success and “suggest a pattern designed to strengthen the credibility of [the nation’s] regional nuclear deterrent strategy.”
The Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS California – Sputnik International, 1920, 07.06.2023
What Was the US Reaction of US?
Pyongyang’s test launch coincided with the second day of the NATO summit in Vilnius. Following the DPRK’s Wednesday’s test, the White House stated that the launch “risks destabilizing the security situation in the region.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the launch “unacceptable” while speaking on the sidelines of the NATO summit. South Korea joined the chorus of Pyongyang’s critics.
For its part, the DPRK refers to the ongoing military buildup in the Asia-Pacific region spearheaded by the US, intensified military drills between US, South Korean and Japanese forces and militaristic rhetoric from Seoul.
Last month, the Japanese Defense Ministry announced a plan to create a new surface-to-ship guided cruise missile as part of its broader strategy to “deter” China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), per US military observers.
Last December Japan passed a record defense budget for the 2023 fiscal year. In addition to the aforementioned anti-ship cruise missiles, Tokyo doubled down on the development of aircraft carriers – such as the Izumo class JS Kaga (DDH-184) – and hypersonic missiles.
For its part, the US has bolstered its trilateral AUKUS military alliance with the UK and Australia and brought focus on further enhancement of the INDOPACOM missions.
On April 18, 2023, Admiral John C. Aquilino, United States Navy Commander, US Indo-Pacific Command, testified before the US House Armed Services Committee emphasizing the necessity to step up deterrence in the Asia-Pacific region specifically against China, Russia, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
By Ekaterina Blinova
Published by Sputnik Globe
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.com
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