So North Korea is at it again. The bizarre communist state decided to mark the Fourth of July by launching yet another experimental missile, which does kind of beat everyone else’s fireworks. As usual, the launch was accompanied by grandiose claims from the Pyongyang regime about the country’s military might – but this time there might genuinely be something to worry about.
The USA, South Korea, and Japan all keep a close eye on North Korea’s missile tests, because they’re all potential targets, and initially they assessed the
latest launch as another intermediate-range missile. However, analysts now think this could be what North Korea claims it is – an intercontinental weapon. If so, that makes the rogue state a lot more dangerous than its previously been.
According to tracking data, the missile flew for around 40 minutes, reached an altitude of at least 1,500 miles and came down in the ocean 580 miles from its launch point. These figures are generally very close to the ones released by North Korea (39 minutes, 1,741 miles and 579 miles), which is unusual; the regime has some history when it comes to exaggerating its own achievements.
Looking at these figures, the missile reached a very high altitude for the range it achieved. That also ties in with what Pyongyang says, which is that they launched it at maximum elevation. The disturbing thing is that a missile with the same kinetic performance, launched on a typical ballistic trajectory, would have a range of close to 4,200 miles – and that’s enough to reach Alaska.
Now, it’s unlikely that the ability to dump a bucket of sunshine on Juneau will embolden Kim Jong-Un to launch a nuclear attack on the USA. After all, the Minuteman silos are all under North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana, and they can easily reach anywhere in North Korea from there. Retribution wouldn’t take long to arrive. But this is a worrying step up in the regime’s capabilities. From this point, incremental improvements would swiftly increase the threat.
Increase the range of this latest missile by 900 miles and it can reach northwest Washington. Add another 500 and California is coming within range. Once North Korea manages that – and, unless they’re stopped, they will; they’ve mastered the art of building a long-range missile, and can build from there – every small increase in range brings another arc of the Midwest into the danger zone.
North Korea isn’t going to risk destruction for the sake of hitting Alaska, but if they manage to bring 25% of the US population within range of their missiles they would have a pretty powerful blackmail tool. Yes, the USA will always outgun them in a strategic nuclear fight, but what president wants to even risk the possibility of a nuke hitting an American city? Kim doesn’t need to worry about elections – and anyway, his country has a lot less infrastructure to lose if missiles do start flying – so he could easily be tempted to ramp up the brinkmanship. North Korea is still a wild and wacky regime, but it isn’t a joke anymore. Something will have to be done about them, and probably very soon.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.