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N. Korean missile presumed to have exploded in mid-air

Posted May. 02, 2016 07:31,   

Updated May. 02, 2016 07:39


The firing of a submarine launched ballistic missile, which North Korea touted as a "great success," was actually a great failure, in which the missile exploded midair and was broken into pieces, a new analysis suggests. It has been revealed belatedly that the North lost its face again with the failed launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), amid successive failures including mid-air explosion and crash of its intermediate range ballistic missile, "Musudan" whose launch was attempted three times last month.

According to South Korean military sources on Sunday, the April 23-fired SLBM was originally known to have flown 30 kilometers, but only a separated chunk of the missile flew that far, it has been confirmed. The missile was broken into two or three pieces in the wake of mid-air explosion, and the debris that flew the longest distance reached 30 kilometers, the analysts say.

“An analysis of the launch by using monitoring assets possessed by South Korea and the U.S. clearly demonstrates that the missile exploded due to technical defect,” a South Korean military official said. “The explosion was clearly not intentional.”

After the April 23 launch of the SLBM, the North advertised that it had secured technology for all phases of launch required for its deployment to combat mission by saying that “We succeeded in stage separation.” In reality, however, stage separation was not even done. The North secured some technologies for SLBM, including ejection of the missile from a submarine (thrusting off the rocket by using high-pressure gas), and ignition of the missile’s engine after its emergence from the water, and initial flight, but the missile failed in separation of phase 1 rocket and warhead, and operation of the detonation device.

Another South Korean military source said, “Since Kim Jong Un cannot confirm stage separation and operation of the detonation device with his naked eyes, there is a chance that North Korean engineers could have falsely reported ‘all activities were successful,’ fearing that they could be disciplined.”

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