July 12, 2019 09:30
The U.S. Forces Korea on Thursday said North Korea's Hwasong-15 ballistic missile is capable of striking anywhere in the continental U.S.
The North test-launched the Hwasong-15 in November 2017.
According to the USFK's 2019 Strategic Digest, any part of the U.S. mainland lies within its range of 8,000 miles or about 12,800 km. South Korea also said in last year's Defense White Paper that the missile has a range of more than 10,000 km.
A military source here said the USFK's estimate is based on "comprehensive analysis of intelligence data collected from satellite, aircraft and radar surveillance of missile launches."
But the report did not say whether the missile's reentry into the atmosphere was successful in the November 2017 test. Seoul and Washington have so far said this needs further verification. But that the report baldly states that the missile could reach the U.S. mainland suggests its authors believe the North does have the reentry capability.
It is also unclear whether the North has sufficiently miniaturized nuclear warheads to fit them on the missiles.
The North's arsenal consists of three kinds of ICBMs, the Hwasong-13, Hwasong-14, and Hwasong-15, according to the report. The Hwasong-13 has a range of 3,418 miles or 5,468 km, and the Hwasong-14 a range of 6,250 miles or 10,000 km.
That makes the Hwasong-14 capable of reaching most parts of the U.S. mainland.
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