Experts Warn North Korea Capable of Striking U.S. Mainland After ICBM Test

The test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea Friday confirms Pyongyang’s ability to strike the U.S. mainland, experts warn.

The missile, which reached an altitude of 3,700km during its 47 minute flight, came down into the waters off of Japan’s west coast after being launched from Mupyong-ni, Chagang province, at 11:11 p.m. local time. Had the projectile been launched on a normal trajectory, analysts say the ICBM may have reached as far as Washington D.C.

 

“Based on the July 28 launch, preliminary impressions are that North Korea would be capable of easily ranging the contiguous United States…” The Diplomat’s Ankit Panda writes.

“The July 28 test would suggest that North Korea could potentially reach targets as far away as New York City and Washington, DC, depending on the size of its weapons payload.”

The missile type, confirmed to be a Hwasong-14, was also used in North Korea’s first ever ICBM test launch on July 4. A comparison between Friday’s launch (yellow) and the July 4 test (red) suggests Pyongyang did not originally display the Hwasong-14’s full capabilities.

Source: Scott LaFoy @wslafoy

Calculations from David Wright, physicist and co-director of the UCS Global Security Program, likewise found that major US cities are now within range of Pyongyang’s long-range missile. With an estimated reach of anywhere between 10,400km and 11,000km, a North Korean ICBM could easily reach Denver and Chicago.

“Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago appear to be well within range of this missile, and that Boston and New York may be just within range. Washington, D.C. may be just out of range,” Wright said, noting that everything from the earth’s rotation to the mass of the payload could alter the figures.