Among the new military hardware displayed at a parade in Pyongyang marking the Communist regime’s 75th anniversary were what appeared to be a massive new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
Visual analysis of the new ICBM shows it is larger than the Hwasong-15, which was previously North Korea’s most advanced ICBM and is capable of striking anywhere in the continental U.S.
Visual analysis of the new ICBM (above) shows it is larger than the Hwasong-15, which was previously North Korea’s most advanced ICBM
Analysts said: ‘we estimate the new missile (above) could, in principle, deliver 2,000-3,500 kg of payload to any point in the continental United States—much greater than the Hwasong-15’s assessed to the same range.’
‘The new ICBM, presumably a Hwasong-16, appears to be approximately 25-26 m long and 2.5-2.9 m in diameter—about 4-4.5 m longer and about 0.5 m larger in diameter than the North’s Hwasong-15 ICBM flight tested once in November 2017,’ wrote analysts for the Henry L. Stimson Center.
They added: ‘we estimate the new missile could, in principle, deliver 2,000-3,500 kg of payload to any point in the continental United States—much greater than the Hwasong-15’s assessed to the same range.’
‘Indeed, the new missile has been correctly characterized as the world’s largest mobile ICBM—in part because countries with ICBMs generally seek to make their road-mobile ICBMs smaller so they can be more mobile and concealable,’ the analysts wrote.
They theorized that North Korea may be working toward developing multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV), technology that allows for multiple nuclear strikes with a single missile.
Trump and Kim are seen in 2018 in Singapore before the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit. Trump is reportedly furious after Kim unveiled a ‘monster’ new ICBM
The Hwasong-15 (above) was previously North Korea’s most advanced ICBM and is capable of striking anywhere in the continental U.S.
However, Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the American Federation of Scientists, theorized that the missile may be larger to account for the North’s larger warheads.
‘I would caution on speculations about MIRV. More likely about large size of possible thermonuclear warhead,’ he tweeted.
‘This missile is a monster,’ said Melissa Hanham, deputy director of the Open Nuclear Network.
New sub-launched missile appears to use advanced casing technology
Analysts say the new ‘Pukguksong-4’ SLBM is likely designed for greater range and payload.
‘At least portions of the missile’s motor case appear to be filament-wound, a technology the North Koreans previously have suggested they possess,’ the Stimpson Center analysts wrote.
‘If the entire motor case were so constructed, that would reduce the missile’s structure weight and allow greater range/payload capability.’
Analysts say the new ‘Pukguksong-4’ SLBM is likely designed for greater range and payload
The North’s new sub-launched solid fuel rocket is seen during Saturday’s military parade
‘If the new SLBM is intended to be deployed, it may be intended for the new conventionally powered ballistic missile submarine that North Korea hinted at building in July 2019,’ they added.
The new submarine-launched missile’s range is unknown, but it is not thought to be capable of striking American territory unless the sub strayed far outside of North Korean waters.
‘We presume the Pukguksong-4 will not have sufficient range to strike Guam, Hawaii or the US West Coast without a vulnerable transit,’ the analysts wrote.
Ahead of the parade, which was held to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Workers’ Party, officials in South Korea and the United States said Kim Jong Un could use the event to unveil a new ‘strategic weapon’ as promised earlier this year.
A senior U.S. administration official called the display of the ICBM ‘disappointing’ and called on the government to negotiate to achieve a complete denuclearization.
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows fireworks to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s Workers’ Party in Pyongyang
A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang
A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the celerbration for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea
A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the celerbration for the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Kim Jong Un waves during a ceremony to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s ruling party in Pyongyang on Saturday
The massive military parade was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the country’s regime
People take part in a procession to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), in Pyongyang, North Korea
The parade featured North Korea’s ballistic missiles for the first time since Kim began meeting with international leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, in 2018.
The U.S. official said Washington was holding fast to four commitments made by Trump and Kim at their historic meeting in June of that year, including a pledge by Pyongyang to ‘work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.’
Kim made no direct mention of the United States or the now-stalled denuclearization talks.
‘We will continue to build our national defence power and self-defensive war deterrence,’ Kim said, but vowed that the country’s military power would not be used preemptively.
Kim blamed international sanctions, typhoons, and the coronavirus for preventing him from delivering on promises of economic progress.
‘I am ashamed that I have never been able to repay you properly for your enormous trust,’ he said. ‘My efforts and devotion were not sufficient to bring our people out of difficult livelihoods.’
North Korean 600mm mobile rocket launchers are seen during a military parade Saturday
North Korean tanks during a military parade. Nuclear-armed North Korea held a giant military parade, television images showed, with thousands of maskless troops
The video showed Kim make an appearance as a clock struck midnight. Dressed in a grey suit and tie, he waved to the crowd and accepted flowers from children while surrounded by military officials in Pyongyang’s recently renovated Kim Il Sung Square.
Kim spoke for nearly half an hour, often visibly sweating despite the cool morning air, shedding tears when thanking the troops, and smiling and laughing as he watched the missiles.
The parade was highly choreographed, with thousands of troops marching in formation, displays of new conventional military equipment including tanks, and fighter jets launching flares and fireworks.
Experts said that the new, larger ICBM is likely designed to carry multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs), allowing it to attack more targets and making interception more difficult.
Artillery units fire during the military parade on Saturday to celebrate the regime’s founding
Military vehicles are seen during a parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea
A new intercontinental ballistic missile passes through Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang
Michael Elleman, director for Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, estimated on Twitter that the new large missile could potentially deliver 2,000-3,500 kg ‘to any point on CONUS,’ making it more capable than Soviet R-16 or R-26 ICBMs that were never deployed.
The new ICBM is likely intended to dispel doubts about North Korea’s ability to strike the continental United States, and an implicit threat that they are preparing to test the larger missile, said Markus Garlauskas, a former U.S. intelligence officer for North Korea.
‘If the Hwasong-15 could carry a ‘super-large’ nuclear warhead to anywhere in the U.S., then the natural question is what can this larger missile carry?,’ he said.
Pyonyang is widely expected to test the larger missile in coming months, said Riki Ellison, founder of the non-profit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, sending a message to both Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Jenny Town, a fellow at the Stimson Center, said it was unclear if the missile shown was a conceptual or engineering mock-up or a workable prototype. ‘It seems highly unlikely they would try to deploy this system without testing it at least once,’ she said.