N. Korea’s KN-08 ICBM has potential to hit much of U.S.: Pentagon report

North Korea's KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile would be capable of hitting much of the United States if it is successfully designed and developed, a U.S. Defense Department report has shown.

The report said, however, that the KN-08's reliability as a weapon would be low as it has not been tested yet. The report, titled "Military and Security Developments involving the Democratic People's Republic of Korea" was submitted to Congress on Friday.

"If successfully designed and developed, the KN-08 likely would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States, assuming the missiles displayed are generally representative of missiles that will be fielded," the report said.

"However, ICBMs are extremely complex systems that require multiple flight tests to identify and correct design or manufacturing defects. Without flight tests, the KN-08's current reliability as a weapon system would be low," it said.

It also estimated the KN-08's range at more than 3,400 miles (5,440 kilometers).

U.S. military commanders have repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the KN-08, saying the missile is harder to keep an eye on as it can be launched from mobile launchers.

The Pentagon report also noted the North displayed the KN-08 on six road-mobile transporter-erector-launchers (TEL) during military parades in 2012 and 2013. Last October, the North also paraded four missiles on KN-08 TELs, and those missiles were noticeably different from those previously displayed, the report said.

The report said that developing a space launch vehicle contributes heavily to Pyongyang's long-range ballistic missile development because the two vehicles have many shared technologies.

"However, a space launch does not test a reentry vehicle (RV). Without an RV capable of surviving atmospheric reentry, North Korea cannot deliver a weapon to target from an ICBM," the report said.

Meanwhile, South Korean government sources have said that the North has formed a new military unit to deploy the KN-08. The KN-08 Brigade is a subordinate unit of the Strategic Rocket Forces, which oversees all missile units in the North, the sources said.

Source: Yonhap news

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