Aug 122017

For what it’s worth:

North Korea’s “not quite” ICBM can’t hit the lower 48 states

Some folks associated with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists examined the trajectories of recent Nork ICBM test flights, looked at the presumed performance of the motors and propellant, and have concluded that the Hwasong-14 “ICBM” is a “sub-ICBM.” One of the authors of the study is a long-time critic of missile defense systems, so YMMV.

Even if the missile was a full-up ICBM capable of lobbing to New York City the kind of nuke the Norks could actually build, I would not bet large sums on the missile working as advertised in operational practice. That said… Lil’ Kim seems like a nut. Give him a weapon that will probably fail and tell him it’ll probably work (and I imagine his underlings will say what they think they need to in order to avoid the firing squad), and who knows, he might decide that The Stars Are Right and it’s time for his apotheosis via nuclear fire.

I’d be less sanguine about the chances of success for a missile like this lobbing a nuke *over* the US. A few dozen kilotons a few hundred miles up could wreak a whole lot of havoc via EMP.


 Posted by at 9:27 pm
  • Law

    “The art of deterrence is to produce in the enemy… the fear to attack.”
    Dr. Strangelove

  • Edohiguma

    The big problem really is that nobody knows where this thing would come down.

    It could fail, and go kaboom right on the pad. It could drop into Seoul. It could veer off course and hit Vancouver, or into some uninhabited island somewhere in the Pacific.

    It might explode, or it might not.

    You know, it appears to me that the V1 in WW2 was more dangerous for a specific target than what Kim has. With the V1 you’d know it would definitely hit its intended target if you didn’t take it out of the sky first. You would also know that it would definitely explode.

    But with Kim’s bottle rockets… oyvey! They could go anywhere and do anything. Guam is very safe if they should fire at Guam. But everybody else is not.

    • FelixA9

      “With the V1 you’d know it would definitely hit its intended target if you didn’t take it out of the sky first.”

      Sure, because the target was, “Britain”. In that regard lil’ Kim’s missile is just as accurate as his target would be “America”.

  • publiusr

    They really need a 3 meter core for a true ICBM

    One of their missiles have two engines
    I wonder if they were inspired by the dual engine version of what we see here–center-right column

  • Russcal

    At one time, “sub-ICBM”s used to be referred to as IRBMs… Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. But leave it to mass media to use the less accurate but more sensational term for something.

    But, despite living in one of the potential impact areas, Southern California, I’m less concerned about these than him, or the cabal of senile generals that run the place, putting one of his non flight worthy but still functional “gadgets” in an ISO container and sailing it right into the Port of Los Angeles. Or any other major American seaports. That’ll definitely get him some bang for his buck.

    • Scottlowther

      Something that I imagine keeps relevant people in the CIA up at nights:
      1) North Korea is cash-poor.
      2) North Korea has crappy nukes.
      3) #2 leads to economic sanctions, makign North Korea more poor.
      4) But they have nukes.
      5) And they’re smallerizing them to fit on ICBMs
      6) And something that can fit in an ICBM can fit in a barrel.
      7) And be sold to the kind of people who’d like to have a shady nuke.

      So, being poor and being incentivized to sell nukes to the likes of Al Queda, ISIS and whoever else are mutually reinforcing systems.