3 List of North Korean ICBM Missiles Capable of Reaching the US Mainland

3 List of North Korean ICBM Missiles Capable of Reaching the US Mainland
3 List of North Korean ICBM Missiles Capable of Reaching the US Mainland

Pyongyang - North Korea has three types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), namely the Hwasong-14, Hwasong-15, and Hwasong-17. The three North Korean ICBM missiles, named Hwasong which according to NK News means "Mars" have a range of more than 5,500 Km.

North Korea has a military nuclear weapons program developed since 1984 and by 2020 is estimated to have about 30 to 40 nuclear weapons. From April 1984 to March 20 2020, North Korea has conducted 147 strategic missile tests.

The strength of the ICBM missile lies not only in its very long range, but also in its ability to carry various warheads, including nuclear ones. Even the latest designs, ICBM missiles are designed as Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs). This allows one missile to carry multiple warheads, each of which can strike a different target.

The following are 3 types of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs that can reach the United States.

1. Hwangsong-14 Missile

The Hwasong-14 is an evolution of the Hwasong-12 single-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The Hwasong-14 was first tested by North Korea in May 2017 with a range of about 4,500 kilometers. Analyst estimates put the missile's range at 7,000 to 10,400 km depending on the missile's payload.

With a payload of 500 kg, the Hwasong-14 will be capable of engaging targets in the western United States. As an illustration, the distance between Pyongyang and California is about 9,261 km.

The Hwasong-14 is powered by a large liquid-fuel engine and four vernier thrusters similar to the Hwasong-12 configuration. The motor, a single-chamber variant of the Soviet-designed RD-250 engine, uses an energy hypergolic propellant to produce 48 tonnes of thrust.

The Hwasong-14's performance in its second test on July 28 far exceeded that of the first, traveling 47 minutes to a distance of 1,000 km and reaching an altitude of 3,700 km. The first stage missile fired for 151 (+6) seconds and the second stage for 224 (-9) seconds. North Korean state media claims that the missile can strike across any region of the earth.

2. Hwasong-15 Missile

The Hwasong-15 is one of three ICBMs that North Korea has developed, along with the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-17. The three ICBMs are liquid fueled and capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

KCNA reported that the First Red Flag Hero Company launched the Hwasong-15 ICBM on Saturday 18 February 2023 from Pyongyang International Airport. The Hwasong-15 ICBM accurately hit a target area in international waters in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) 989 km away.

The Hwasong-15 ICBM reached an altitude of about 5,768 km and flew for a total of 66 minutes. Reported flight details show that the missile can travel 13,000 kilometers or more if launched on a normal trajectory.

3. Hwasong-17 Missile

The Hwasong-17 is assumed to be a two-stage liquid fueled road ICBM carried by a 2-2 wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle. The Hwasong-17 missile is judged from the image to have a length of 26 meters with a diameter of 2.7 meters.

The detailed capabilities of the Hwasong-17 missile have not been confirmed, although speculation by experts has fueled fears it could reach cities in the United States. Even the Hwasong-17 missile is potentially capable of evading US missile defenses as well.

The Hwasong-17 is North Korea's two-stage ICBM, first launched on 10 October 2020, the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Parade Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

North Korea claims the first Hwasong-17 was successfully launched on March 24, 2022. Western analysts conversely believe the March 24 launch was an earlier missile design.

The next test conducted on November 18, 2022 was actually the first successful test launch. The Japanese Ministry of Defense estimates its operational range to be 15,000 km or more. Unlike its predecessors, the Hwasong-17 may be capable of carrying multiple warheads.

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