|Hwasong-14 Ballistic Missile|
WASHINGTON, July 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's recently tested intercontinental ballistic missile, if fully developed, would be able to strike the U.S. naval base at San Diego with a nuclear warhead and multiple decoys designed to penetrate missile defenses, a top American missile expert said Monday.
John Schilling, an aerospace engineer with expertise on North Korean missiles, presented the analysis in an article to the 38 North website, noting that the North's Hwasong-14 ICBM could fly as far as 9,700 kilometers with a 500 kilogram payload if fully developed.
Moreover, the missile has a detachable "payload shroud" that can house multiple payloads or a single warhead and a number of decoys and penetration aids designed to defeat U.S. missile defenses, the expert said.
"If the Hwasong-14 is put together the way we think it is, it can probably do a bit better than that when all the bugs are worked out ... The North Koreans won't be able to achieve this performance tomorrow, but they likely will eventually," Schilling said.
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