North Korea: what is the “monster missile” capable of carrying several nuclear warheads and hitting the United States?

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North Korea has succeeded in the first launch of a new missile described as a “monster”, presented for the first time in 2020: the Hwasong-17.

Images unveiled on November 19 by the North Korea present to the rest of the world Kim Jong-un’s daughter, whose existence was until then a secret. But this revelation is not the most important, since the photos taken on November 18 also show the launch of a “monster missile”: the Hwasong-17, the latest in the family of North Korean ballistic missiles.

This monster missile, presented in 2020, was launched according to the regime for the first time on March 24. But several analyzes suggested that it could be an older model, the Hwasong-15. “This launch [du 18 novembre] is significant because it is (probably) the first successful test” of this missile, according to Joseph Dempsey, researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) interviewed by AFP.

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A colossal reach

The Hwasong-17 is a giant 26 meters long, which comes to enhance the North Korean nuclear arsenal. Its characteristics are impressive: it could be the largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) mobile, other countries in general trying to reduce the size of their mobile ICBMs according to the specialized media on North Korea 38 North.

Another element to note is the possibility that the missile could be equipped with a mirvage system, MIRV in English. This technology makes it possible to equip a ballistic missile with several nuclear warheads capable of leaving in different directions, thus complicating the interception of the latter. It is especially this possibility that makes the Hwasong-17 worrying.

The maximum distance that the “monster missile” could travel is remarkable: the Japanese Ministry of Defense quoted by the BBC estimates it could have a range of 15,000 kilometers, enough to hit American cities. It should be noted that North Korea already has a missile capable of reaching targets on United States territory, the Hwasong-15 and its 13,000 kilometers.

Any future trials to plan?

The missile fired furthest by the regime, however, is not a Hwasong-17. It was a Hwasong-12, fired on October 4, which set the record at 4,600 kilometers passing over Japan according to Reuters. The missiles fired by the regime generally have a bell-shaped trajectory and are fired very high in the atmosphere, as is the case of the Hwasong-17 test which traveled a distance of 999 kilometers but reached a height of 6040 kilometers. .

The missile could also undergo new tests given the current frequency of firing: on November 2, 23 missiles had been launched by North Korea, a figure never reached before.

North Korea: what is the “monster missile” capable of carrying several nuclear warheads and hitting the United States?