The American online magazine National Interest pays considerable attention to North Korea’s new missile capabilities, especially after such an impressive and well-choreographed military parade in honor of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean Workers’ Party.
According to the author of the article in the American edition, this parade was followed quite closely by Western military analysts to find out whether Kim Jong-un has managed to change or increase its missile potential in recent years. Of course, everyone’s attention was focused on the latest North Korean missile Hwasong-16, which is now considered a direct threat not only to South Korea but also to the United States. It should be noted that this missile is a successor to its previous version Hwasong-15.
However, it turns out that not everyone is of the opinion that Hwasong-16 is what most military analysts think it is. According to some experts, this missile has serious design flaws and could be a complete failure for North Korea. Harry Casianis, one of the authors of the American online magazine National Interest, agrees.
According to him, one of the main disadvantages is the impressive size of the weapon. Heavy and cumbersome, it has to move very slowly with the help of heavy vehicles, on roads that are really missing in North Korea and are easily traced by intelligence from both the United States and South Korea. Ie In reality, this impressive missile does not have much mobility and cannot be located anywhere, but in specific places with access to fairly normal roads.
Another drawback is the fuel used to launch the rocket. According to Casianis, the use of liquid fuel to launch this missile leads to a long period of time for its deployment, activation and eventual launch – about 18 hours. During this time, foreign intelligence services will not only find out where it is, but can also carry out a controlled attack to destroy it. And because of its large size and slow movement, the lack of mobility will only make it easier for South Korean fighters.
At the same time, the National Interest suggests that the previous version of the North Korean Hwasong-15 missile was a different and dangerous possibility for Kim’s army to launch a rapid missile strike on Seoul. Hwasong-15 is smaller, easier to transport and move, ie. more mobile. Like the Hwasong-16, the Hwasong-15 also threatens the continental United States, and in addition to reaching Washington without problems, this missile carries a large payload, understand warheads. Yes, there is also liquid fuel propulsion here, but at least the Hwasong-15 is harder to track and there are many places in North Korea where it can be deployed. Hwasong-15 also has a very good navigation system and control system.
And here the question arises – if the recently introduced Pyongyang Hwasong-16 missile is supposed to carry a larger payload than the Hwasong-15, then what is the strategic value of the missile system?
And here the author of the article gives his suggestions related to the current missiles of Pyongyang – what can the last 16th version of the missile achieve so much that the 15th version of the same missile would not achieve? What is the advantage if you carry 2000 kg. payload per 1000 kg., when the first option is outdoors, it cannot be moved and it takes almost one day to activate it.
In this case, it seems that Kim’s army should focus on upgrading the Hwasong-15 – it can easily improve its penetration capabilities, improve the way the missile is powered, and reduce some of the size of the conical part of the missile. , or to undertake optimization processes to change the front design of the Hwasong-15 so that it becomes something really dangerous for the United States and its allies, as well as for South Korea.
Let’s not forget one main fact – Hwasong-15 has at least one test, and successful, while the current “beast” Hwasong-16 has not even been tested. For God’s sake, it is not known if this rocket flies properly! On the other hand, if Pyongyang is so keen to develop a system of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it must consider replacing liquid fuel with solid.
In reality, the Hwasong-16 is not the future of North Korea’s ballistic missile program, if one exists, because this missile is not one step forward, but at least two steps back in its development. So far, Kim Jong-un has only demonstrated that he can produce missiles, but the questions are different – how well does he produce them, how effective are they, what foundation would they lay for future generations in military engineering? Because quantity does not mean quality.
But yes – Kim is not trying to show foresight in the field of military development, but simply a political authority that is trying to legitimize itself to the world by showing a huge ballistic missile that … may not fly!