N. Korea says it successfully test-fired new tactical ballistic missile

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 2, 2024, 13:29 Updated : July 2, 2024, 13:32
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People watch news coverage of North Korea's missile launch at Seoul Station in the capital on July 1, 2024. Yonhap
SEOUL, July 2 (AJU PRESS) - North Korea successfully test-fired a new tactical ballistic missile, state media reported Tuesday.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the previous day that two projectiles were fired eastwards from a launch site in South Hwanghae Province at around 5:00 a.m. (2000 GMT) and traveled about 600 kilometers (372 miles) and 120 kilometers, respectively.

Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the missile, codenamed "Hwasongpho-11Da-4.5," is capable of carrying a 4.5-ton warhead with a maximum range of 500 kilometers.

The KCNA claimed that the test launch was part of Pyongyang's "regular activities of the [missile development] administration and its affiliated science institutes."

The new 4.5-ton warhead is considerably heavier than modern nuclear warheads, suggesting it can be carried by a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), also known as a multi-warhead missile. The W87 warhead used in the American intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) weighs around 270 kilograms (600 pounds) each.

The test launch took place about a week after North Korea test fired the first-stage engine of an intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile on June 27 to test an MIRV carrying multiple warheads and a decoy. MIRVs with separated warheads and decoys are extremely hard to detect and track, making them difficult to intercept. 
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