January 12, 2022 10:47
The ballistic missile North Korea fired into the East Sea on Tuesday morning is likely to be the "most technologically advanced" in terms of speed and other functions among all its hypersonic missiles.
South Korean military authorities downplayed the previous launch last week but admitted Tuesday's missile showed some "technological progress."
It flew more than 700 km at a speed of Mach 10, compared to a missile fired on Jan. 5 that made no more than Mach 6.
A missile with a Mach 10 speed from Pyongyang could reach Seoul in just one minute and U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province in two minutes.
The speed has increased more than three times and the range 3.5 times compared to the Hwasong-8 missile that flew 200 km at a speed of Mach 3 last September.
It is unclear whether the latest missile was the same type as the Hwasong-8 fired last year or the same as the one launched last week.
South Korean military authorities incline to the possibility of the latest missile being an improved Hwasong-8 since the shape of the warhead is more suitable for long-range, high-speed gliding.
The official [North] Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday the country has successfully conducted "the final test-firing of a new hypersonic missile" with leader Kim Jong-un watching the launch.
It added, "The superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle was more strikingly verified through the final test-fire."
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