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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Seoul and Washington: North Korea’s missile was not new

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Informed sources said Sunday that South Korea and the United States believe North Korea has acted to make its ICBM launch last week look like a new, larger missile.
The two allies believe North Korea tested the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile again on Thursday, the same type it launched in late 2017, according to the sources. While North Korea announced that it had successfully launched a Hwasong-17 missile.

Intelligence analysis from the two countries suggests that the tested missile, similar to the Hwasong-15 missile, has two motor slots while the Hwasong-17 has four. The burn time of the first stage rocket motor was similar to that of the Hwasong-15.

The analysis is based on data from the two countries’ intelligence assets, including satellite data with infrared thermal sensors.

The South Korean military said the latest missile was launched at a high angle and flew about 1,080 km, with a maximum altitude of more than 6,200 km. Which is an improvement given that the Hwasong-15 missile flew 960 km at an altitude greater than 4,500 km when it was launched in 2017.

However, South Korean military officials are downplaying the missile launched last week as it is the same missile but with a lighter warhead, designed to look like it flew like the longer-range Hwasong-17.

Questions were raised about North Korea’s claim about its latest launch, as North Korea’s photo of the latest launch showed the missile flew in clear, blue skies over Pyongyang, despite cloudy weather over the capital of North Korea at the time of launch. .

Observers say North Korea may have used an image from an earlier test in its state media report on the alleged Hwasong-17 launch.

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