North Korea joins race for new hypersonic missile with latest test

  • Released Tuesday the latest in a series of new weapons tests.
  • The United States and Russia recently tested lower altitude hypersonic weapons
  • Expert Says Speeds Suggest North Korea Test May Have Been Failure

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Reuters) – North Korea conducted a launch test of a newly developed hypersonic missile earlier this week, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday, joining a race led by major military powers to deploy the advanced weapon system.

North Korea launched the missile from its east coast into the sea, the South Korean military said on Tuesday, while Pyongyang called on the United States and South Korea to remove their “double standards” on weapons programs to restart diplomatic talks. read more

North Korea has been constantly developing their weapons systems amid a stalemate over talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for relief from US sanctions.

Unlike ballistic missiles that fly into outer space before returning on steep trajectories, hypersonic weapons fly toward targets at lower altitudes and can reach more than five times the speed of sound, or around 6,200 km per hour (3,853 miles). per hour).

The North’s hypersonic missile is in an early stage of development judging by detected speed and other data, and it would take a “considerable period of time” until it can be deployed in combat, the Southern Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.

The development of the weapons system increases North Korea’s defense capabilities, KCNA said, describing the hypersonic missile as a “strategic weapon.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not inspect the launch, according to the report.

“In the first test launch, national defense scientists confirmed the missile’s navigation control and stability,” the report said.

He said the missile, called the Hwasong-8, performed on its technical objectives “including the guidance maneuverability and glide flight characteristics of the separate hypersonic sliding warhead.”

NEXT GENERATION OF WEAPONS

Hypersonic weapons are considered the next generation of weapons that aim to rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms. read more

The test could mean that North Korea is entering a fast-paced race to deploy the weapon that now involves the United States, Russia and China.

The United States said Monday it had tried a hypersonic weapon that breathes air, marking the first successful test of the weapon class since 2013.

In July, Russia successfully tested a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile (Zircon), a weapon that President Vladimir Putin touted as part of a new generation of missile systems unmatched in the world.

Chang Young-keun, a missile specialist at Korea Aerospace University, said North Korea’s test of the hypersonic gliding vehicle (HGV) was likely a failure, given that the flight was recorded at Mach 2.5, citing an informed evaluation. by South Korean military intelligence.

“The North’s heavy vehicle technology is not comparable to that of the United States, Russia or China and, for now, it seems to be targeting a short range that can target South Korea or Japan,” Chang said.

North Korea said last week that it was willing to consider another summit with the South if mutual respect between neighbors can be ensured, following South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s call for a statement formally ending the Korean War. from 1950-1953. read more

Denuclearization negotiations, launched between former US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018, have stalled since 2019.

The two Koreas both test fired ballistic missiles on September 15, part of an arms race in which both nations have developed increasingly sophisticated weapons as efforts prove unsuccessful for talks to continue to ease tensions.

Report from Sangmi Cha; edited by Jonathan Oatis, Grant McCool and Lincoln Feast.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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