N. Korea showcases new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during military parade
SEOUL, North Korea showcased a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Saturday during a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 75th founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party.
During the parade, the communist country also showed off a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which it labeled as the Pukguksong-4, according to footage from the North’s state Korean Central Television.
The new ICBM was carried on a transporter erector launcher (TEL) with 22 wheels, indicating that it is longer than the Hwasong-15, which is carried by a 18-wheel TEL. A longer missile is believed to be capable of flying further, according to officials and experts.
The Hwasong-15 has an estimated range of 8,000 miles, or 12,874 kilometers, which is capable of striking any part of the continental U.S.
The regime has two more types of ICBM: the Hwasong-13 that can fly as far as 5,500 km, and the Hwasong-14 missile with an estimated range of 10,058 km, which is capable of reaching most of the continental U.S.
Drawing attention is whether the new ICBM can carry multiple warheads, as the North has been working to develop to make the missile harder to intercept.
“More analysis is needed to learn the exact features of the newly disclosed ICBM. It could be called either the upgraded version of the Hwasong-15, or the Hwasong-16,” a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) officer said.
The Pukguksong-4 SLBM appears larger than its previous version of the Pukguksong-3 that the North test-fired in October 2019.
The Pukguksong-3 is classified as a medium-range missile, and is believed to be an upgraded version of its Pukguksong-1 missile. During the October test, the missile flew around 450 kilometers at a maximum altitude of about 910 km, according to the JCS.
The new version is forecast to be fit for a new submarine which has been under construction at North Korea’s naval base in Sinpo on its east coast. The new submarine, believed to be a 3,000-ton one, is widely known to be capable of carrying three to four SLBMs.
During the parade, North Korea also presented its version of Russia’s Iskander short-range ballistic missile and super-large multiple rocket launchers, which it has test-launched several times since 2019.
North Korea stopped short of carrying out major weapons tests to mark this year’s party anniversary, apparently in consideration of relations with the U.S. in the run-up to the presidential elections next month.
The communist country last conducted an ICBM test in November 2017, which is deemed a red line for U.S. President Donald Trump.
North Korea had been widely expected to roll out the “new strategic weapons,” such as an ICBM or an SLBM, that leader Kim Jong-un pledged to show off in his New Year’s Day message, amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.