A limited ballistic missile threat from North Korea and Iran to the mainland U.S. has "matured from a theoretical to a practical consideration," the commander of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command claimed last Thursday.
Gen. Charles Jacoby was speaking in a hearing at the U.S. Senate's Committee on Armed Services. "North Korea again showcased its new road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile during a military parade last July," he said. There is some controversy whether it was a mock-up.
The missile Jacoby mentioned is believed to be the KN-08, a slightly improved version of a missile that made its first public appearance in April 2012 and measures around 18 m in length and 2 m in diameter, with an estimated range of 5,000 to 6,000 km.
A missile would need to travel about 10,000 km to reach the west coast of the mainland U.S. from the North.
But South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies believe that the North will soon test and deploy a longer-range missile, a military source here said.