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N. Korea’s super-large multiple rocket launcher test practically failed

N. Korea’s super-large multiple rocket launcher test practically failed

Posted September. 12, 2019 07:33,   

Updated September. 12, 2019 07:33


North KN. Korea’s super-large multiple rocket launcher test practically failed

North Korea announced on Wednesday through the Korean Central News Agency that the test launches of “super-large multiple rocket launchers,” KN-25, were conducted. Although North Korea claimed that the rocket launcher’s accuracy and precision-guided function had been verified, it’s been revealed that the test launches were practically a failure with one of them misfired. Some experts anticipate further provocations by North Korea accordingly.

The Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un led the test of super-large multiple rocket launchers on Wednesday and said, “The test launches were in accordance with their purposes.” However, there were signs indicating failed test launches in the pictures released by North Korea on the same day. The picture of mobile launch pads taken after launches shows the front-side caps are gone for three out of four launchers, which means North Korea must have launched three projectiles. Yet, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea launched two rocket launchers. The South Korean military authorities estimate that one of the three consecutive test launches by North Korea may have failed as the failed launcher did not even make it above the altitude of 500 meters, which is the threshold for South Korean missile detection system to sense projectiles.

In addition, only one of the rocket launchers reached its target, Alsom Island near Musudan-ri, North Hamkyong Province, after flying over 330 kilometers while the other fell inland after traveling only over 200 kilometers.

The key to the North Korean multiple rocket launcher developed to destroy the key defense facilities of South Korea in the early stages of a war is a consecutive launch technology. The recent test launches exposed that North Korea is struggling with this key technology. Kim Jong Un’s remark, “Now we only need to conduct consecutive firing tests, the key mark of a multiple rocket launcher,” also implies that there are some issues with the critical technology.

“As the test launches of super-large multiple rocket launcher were conducted only once in August, it is hard to say that North Korea has achieved its flight stability,” said Shin Jong-woo, a senior analyzer of the Korea Defense and Security Forum. “It seems like the regime faced some issued while showing off its military technology.” The South Korean military is keeping a close eye on new development in North Korea, predicting that the country might try additional launch tests to compensate for the recent failure.

Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com · Gi-Jae Han record@donga.com