|Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile|
By RALPH SAVELSBERG
North Koreans are showmen: large 16-wheeled off-road trucks carrying missiles through the streets of Pyongyang are all about showing the ‘American Bastards’ that North Korea has credible road-mobile ICBMs.
The ‘Young General,’ as Jim Jong-Un likes to style himself, has even claimed those ICBMs can threaten San Diego, Texas and Washington DC. American leaders have effectively endorsed North Korean claims, by treating the missile mock-ups and range claims as if the threat is real. The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has talked up the immediacy and numbers of the threat missiles to justify their mandate for 44 GBIs, regardless of any doubts expressed as to the reality and timing of the threat. The DPRK has been remarkably open with sharing edited photos and video of successes in order to influence the US to treat them with ‘appropriate respect’. Four missiles have been shown or flown to influence opinions about the ICBM program: the Unha SLV, the Hwasong 10 (usually called Musudan in US sources), the Hwasong 12 and now the Hwasong 14, flown expressly on the fourth of July to provide a North Korean flavor to celebrating the American holiday.
This article applies missile engineering principles in a directed engineering forensic look to ask the obvious questions: how does a small country that, until a few years ago, was limited to building copies of Russian missiles from the fifties, claim to build a road-mobile liquid propellant ICBM (a feat never achieved by either the Soviets or the US) and have that missile threaten the continental US? This is clearly unlikely as an engineering achievement, so what is the Hwasong-14 and what does it teach us?
Read the full story at Breaking Defense