North Korea tests new engine for long-range missile strikes

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the testing of a new solid fuel rocket engine that could improve the state’s ability to unleash rapid strikes, longer range missiles to deliver nuclear warheads.
State media said on Friday Kim “guided the major test” of a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine”, noting that it was the first of its kind for the country. “This important test has provided a certain scientific and technological guarantee for the development of another new type strategic weapon system,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
He also posted photos of Kim, a cigarette in hand, smiling in front of a huge cloud of smoke from the testing site at his Sohae Satellite Launch Fieldas well as other shots of flames erupting from where the engine test is said to have taken place.
Solid-fuel missiles are quick to deploy and can be easier to conceal, giving the United States and its allies less time to see signs of a launch and ready interceptors. Kim has upgraded its missile arsenal in recent years and deployed new nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles that can strike US military bases throughout South Korea and parts of Japan.
“This is the largest solid fuel engine test ever conducted by North Korea“, said David Schmerler, senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey.
“Solid-fuel missiles require less pre-launch preparation because they are built with the fuel ‘cooked’ into the missile body. Shorter launch times ultimately increase the survivability of the system,” he said. declared.
The engine could be used for its Pukguksong series of submarine-launched ballistic missiles – a nuclear-capable two-stage rocket that has a range to hit all of Japan. It could also be used for longer-range missiles, including possible intercontinental ballistic missiles that could send a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.
North Korean ICBMs use liquid-fueled engines, which take longer to prepare and give the United States and its allies a greater chance of shooting them down on the launch pad than would be the case with a potential solid-fueled version.
This year the Kim regime has fired more than 65 ballistic missiles, the most in its decade in power and in defiance of United Nations resolutions that ban launches. He has stepped up provocations in recent weeks in a show of anger over joint military exercises in the region conducted by the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan.


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