Kim Jong-un eyes strategic military “muscle” after North Korea’s “hypersonic” missile test

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un | Photo via Shutterstock

North Korean media reports that the country test fired a new hypersonic missile but also the attendance of its leader. The event was also Kim Jong-un’s first public appearance in nearly 22 months after his regime tested a pair of single-stage solid-fuel KN-24 missiles in March 2020.

It was the second test-firing of the hypersonic missile in less than a week to get a final verification by Kim to encourage the revision of strategic military artillery, which aimed at final verifying overall technical parameters of the produced hypersonic weapon system, according to state media.

Although Pyongyang refers to the projectile as a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), official media in North Korea claim that the country has test-fired an identical manoeuvrable reentry vehicle (MaRV) to the one launched on January 5.

State media also reported that the second missile flew further, and the reentry vehicle had better agility during the final test-fire than during the previous week’s test launch.

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The reentry vehicle confirmed the source, which completed a 600 kilometres glide jump flight before completing a 240 kilometres corkscrew movement from the initial launch azimuth to the target azimuth, hitting the target azimuth designated target in waters 1,000 kilometres away after being freed from the missile. According to the Korean Central News Agency, the MaRV flew 700 kilometres and performed a 120-kilometre lateral manoeuvre last week.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, on other hand, has remarked the ballistic missile launch had advanced specifications such as speed and flight distance. The Korea Herald’s research associate for defence and military analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Joseph Dempsey, told The Korea Herald he’d call the first test “a successful event” and said the second test would show its range, speed, and the claimed manoeuvrability of the missile’s warhead.

He also explained that multiple tests of the same new technology within a reasonably short period of time are not uncommon for a country like North Korea, although it is unclear whether the design has changed in the interim.

SOURCE: The Korean Herald

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