Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Airline pilots saw flash believed to be from North Korean missile over Japan: Korean Air official said the missile didn’t endanger safety of two aircraft

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un inspects a Hwasong-15.

A Korean Air official said Wednesday that the planes were headed for South Korea’s Incheon Airport after departing from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

He didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.

He said the captain of the first plane reported seeing a flash to Japanese ground control about an hour after North Korea fired what it said was a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

Japan’s defence minister said the missile landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) about that time.

The airline official said the captain of the second plane made a similar report four minutes later as his plane passed along the same route.

He said both planes safely landed at Incheon and the missile didn’t endanger their safety because the trajectory was far enough from the planes’ flight paths.

North Korea said the new missile reached an altitude of around 4,475 kilometres – more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station – and flew 950 kilometres during its 53-minute flight.

“After watching the successful launch of the new type ICBM Hwasong-15, Kim Jong-un declared with pride that now we have finally realised the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power,” according to a statement read by a television presenter.

North Korea described itself as a “responsible nuclear power”, saying its strategic weapons were developed to defend itself from “the US imperialists’ nuclear blackmail policy and nuclear threat”.

US, Japanese and South Korean officials all agreed the missile, which landed within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, was likely an ICBM. The test did not pose a threat to the United States, its territories or allies, the Pentagon said.

“It went higher, frankly, than any previous shot they’ve taken, a research and development effort on their part to continue building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically,” US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the White House.

The UN Security Council was expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the launch, which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned.

China, North Korea’s lone major ally, expressed “grave concern” at the test, while calling for all sides to act cautiously.

The new Hwasong-15, named after the planet Mars, was a more advanced version of an ICBM tested twice in July, North Korea said. It was designed to carry a “super-large heavy warhead”.

Based on its trajectory and distance, the missile would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometres – more than enough to reach Washington DC and the rest of the United States, the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists said.

Original article can be found here ➤

It’s Rocket Science: North Korea Lifts the Hood on Its Newest Missile

Photos of the Hwasong-15 revealed a projectile whose size and sophistication surprised missile experts

SEOUL—North Korea’s newest intercontinental ballistic missile appears to be a completely different system than its predecessors—capable of flying much farther and of carrying a larger payload than anything Pyongyang has launched in the past.

Photos published by North Korea on Thursday of the Hwasong-15 revealed a projectile whose size and sophistication came as a surprise to missile experts. The weapon represents an expansion of dictator Kim Jong Un’s options as he seeks to threaten the U.S.

The North’s latest missile, launched early Wednesday local time, flew farther into space than any of the regime’s previous tests, before splashing down between Korea and Japan. Later in the day, Pyongyang declared the projectile a new type, the Hwasong-15.

Initially, independent experts were skeptical of those claims, suggesting the weapon was likely an upgraded version of the Hwasong-14 ICBM that North Korea successfully fired twice in July.

But Thursday’s photos revealed a much larger missile than the Hwasong-14 with a new engine system that suggested North Korea was experimenting successfully with different engine configurations, according to observers of Pyongyang’s weapons program.

“It’s not something that we’ve ever seen before, and I don’t think anyone was expecting it,” said Michael Duitsman, a research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. “They’ve shown us so much new stuff this year, and to close it out, they show us something even bigger.”

Still, experts say that Pyongyang will need to conduct further tests of the two Hwasong missiles before declaring them ready for mass production.

There have also been signs that North Korea has additional missile designs that it may be working on and for which it may be testing engines. Satellite imagery published recently has pointed to apparent research being conducted on submarine-launched missiles.

“They’ve been testing engines that we haven’t seen in missiles yet,” said Scott LaFoy, an independent missile analyst in Washington. “I don’t think they’re ‘done.’”

There also don’t appear to be clear signs that the Hwasong-15 has brought the North closer to mastering the technology needed for its warheads to survive re-entry through the earth’s atmosphere, according to Michael Elleman, senior fellow for missile defense at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“North Korea appears to have taken another minor step forward as it attempts to mature its ICBM technology,” Mr. Elleman wrote in a report for 38 North, a North Korea-focused blog published by Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

The new missile appears to rely on liquid-fuel technology, which requires considerable fueling time before launch. While most advanced countries stock their arsenals mostly with solid-fuel missiles, North Korea only successfully tested its first longer-range solid-fuel missile this year, and Mr. LaFoy estimates that Pyongyang is still seven to 10 years away from a solid-fuel ICBM.

Even so, other details in the Hwasong-15’s design seemed to suggest that North Korea’s rocket scientists are becoming more sophisticated, playing around with different ideas that may lead the way to new capabilities.

For example, the first, or bottom, stage of the Hwasong-14 earlier this year employed one main nozzle for thrust, with four smaller nozzles to guide steering. The Hwasong-15, by contrast, uses two large nozzles, each capable of rotating on two axes.

“I’m not entirely sure why they did that, but it shows that they’re experimenting,” said Mr. Duitsman.

The most striking attribute is the size of the Hwasong-15, longer and wider than the North’s other missiles. That gives the Hwasong-15 more thrust to fly farther, or to carry a heavier payload to its target.

Little is known about the inner workings of Pyongyang’s missile-development program. But Mr. Duitsman suspects that the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 were developed in tandem—perhaps with the Hwasong-14 as an entry-level ICBM, and the Hwasong-15 as a more ambitious missile with a higher chance of failure.

Mr. LaFoy, the independent analyst, said the Hwasong-14 was an “acceptable” missile for Pyongyang, but still probably couldn’t cover all of the continental U.S.

“I assumed that they’d want to replace the Hwasong-14 because it was their first, and no country is happy with their first ICBM.”

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

Jim B said...

Ok China, by fighting against the US in 1953 you made Kim Sr and his idiot son.

Now time to bring him down.

Your problem, not ours.

Stop appeasing the cantaloupe and take care of business.