North Korea tests first solid-fuel ‘hypersonic’ missile


A missile launch on Sunday, in a photo provided by North Korean state media. ‘Hypersonic’ missiles can change trajectory mid-flight, making them more accurate and harder to intercept © Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP
Published January 15, 2024

Pyongyang claims successful launch as regime increases weapons sales to Russia

North Korea has said it successfully fired a solid-fuel “hypersonic” missile for the first time, demonstrating Pyongyang’s increasingly sophisticated missile capabilities as the regime deepens defence co-operation with Russia.

The intermediate-range ballistic missile was launched from a site near Pyongyang on Sunday afternoon and flew eastward on a lofted trajectory for less than 12 minutes before splashing down in waters between North Korea and Japan, according to the South Korean and Japanese militaries.

If successful, Sunday’s launch would have been the first time Pyongyang combined two recent milestones in its weapons development programme — solid-fuel missiles and missiles with a “manoeuvring re-entry vehicle”.

North Korea claims to have successfully tested solid-fuel and manoeuvrable missiles in separate launches in the past.

Solid-fuel missiles can be fuelled in secret before they are deployed, giving adversaries less time to conduct a preventive strike. The trajectories of manoeuvrable missiles, sometimes known as hypersonic missiles, can be changed mid-flight with fins or winglets, making them more accurate and harder for defence systems to intercept.



RELATED: Explainer: Why is North Korea testing hypersonic missiles and how do they work?

Published January 15, 2024

SEOUL, Jan 15 (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday it had tested a new solid-fuel hypersonic missile with intermediate range, amid an intensifying race for the next generation of long-range rockets that are difficult to detect and intercept.

The United States, China, Russia and other countries have also been developing hypersonic weapons in recent years.


Hypersonic missiles typically launch a warhead that travels at more than five times the speed of sound or about 6,200 km per hour (3,850 mph), often manoeuvring at relatively low altitudes.

Despite their name, analysts say the main feature of hypersonic weapons is not speed – which can sometimes be matched or exceeded by traditional ballistic missile warheads – but manoeuvrability.

North Korea’s first hypersonic missile test in 2021 featured a glider-shaped warhead, while a 2022 launch used what South Korean military officials and analysts said was actually a conical manoeuvrable reentry vehicle (MaRV), or a ballistic missile warhead capable of manoeuvring to hit a target.



RELATED: N. Korea halts radio station known for sending coded messages to spies in Seoul

Published January 13, 2024

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) — North Korea is pressing ahead with measures to disband its inter-Korean organizations, apparently stopping a radio station previously used to send encrypted messages to its spies in South Korea.

As of Saturday, the North appears to have stopped broadcasting the state-run Pyongyang Radio and cut off access to its website.

The latest move comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered “readjusting and reforming” its organizations in charge of inter-Korean affairs during a key Workers’ Party meeting last month amid growing cross-border tensions.

Pyongyang Radio is known for broadcasting a series of mysterious numbers, presumed to be coded messages, giving directions to its agents operating in South Korea.

The North resumed such broadcasts in 2016 after suspending them in 2000, when the two Koreas held their first historic summit.




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