North Korea successfully test fired biggest ICBM Hwasong-17

On 24 March, 2022 North Korea successfully test-fired its longest range inter continental ballistic missile Hwasong-17 from Sil-li missile facility, near Pyongyang International Airport under the orders of leader Kim Jong Un, who vowed to expand the North’s “nuclear war deterrent” while preparing for a “long-standing confrontation” with the United States.

The report by North Korean state media on Friday came a day after the militaries of South Korea and Japan said they detected the North launching an ICBM from an airport near capital Pyongyang in its first long-range test since 2017.

The Hwasong-17 ICBM, which was fired on a high trajectory to avoid the territorial waters of neighbors, reached a maximum altitude of 6,248 kilometers (3,880 miles) and traveled 1,090 kilometers (680 miles) during a 67-minute flight before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

The test of Hwasong-17 was first announced by state media, test include an apogee of 6248.5 km and a horizontal displacement of 1090 km, with a total flight time of 4052 seconds. Kim Jong-un supervised the launch, and celebrated with soldiers and researchers from the Academy of National Defense Science.

Hwasong-17 ICBM
Image of Hwasong-17 ICBM published by N. Korea

The KCNA published photos of the missile leaving a trail of orange flames as it soared from a launcher truck on the airport’s runway and Kim smiling and clapping as he celebrated with military officials from an observation deck.

The agency paraphrased Kim as saying that his new weapon would make the whole world clearly aware of the North’s bolstering nuclear forces. He vowed his military to acquire formidable military and technical capabilities unperturbed by any military threat and blackmail and keep themselves fully ready for long-standing confrontation with the U.S. imperialists.

About Hwasong-17

The Hwasong-17 is assumed to be a two-stage, liquid fuelled road-mobile ICBM carried by a 22-wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle. The missile itself is judged from images to be 26 m long with a diameter of 2.7 m. The exact capabilities of the missile are as yet unconfirmed.

It also might have the capability of carrying multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs), which would be a less expensive way to launch multiple warheads than deploying many ICBMs with single warhead payloads.

The Hwasong-17 may contain three or four warheads, or potentially a mix of decoys and real warheads, so the launch of just a few missiles would be enough to overwhelm enemy defenses.

Hwasong-17 is fitted with 4 RD-250-type rocket engines (first stage). The operating range of Hwasong-17 ICBM is 13,000 km. While it can carry 2,000–3,500 kg weight of warheads.

However, in response to the North Korea test, the US State Department said Washington has sanctioned the Russian entities called Ardis Group, PFK Profpodshipnik and Russian national Igor Aleksandrovich Michurin.

It also sanctioned North Korean citizen Ri Sung Chol and a North Korean entity called Second Academy of Natural Science Foreign Affairs Bureau.

The statement did not detail the specific allegations against these people and entities.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong late Thursday to reaffirm Washington’s alliance with Seoul.

The two top diplomats reiterated that the launch violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions, and “demonstrates the threat the DPRK’s unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs pose to the DPRK’s neighbors and the broader international community,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a readout of the call.

For its part, the Russian embassy accused the United States of seeking to punish officials in Moscow because they hold a view that “does not correspond to the views of Washington.”

“It is obvious that the next ‘package’ of anti-Russian sanctions is aimed at destroying the economy and undermining the domestic political situation in our country,” Antonov posted on the embassy’s Facebook page.

Last week, the US Treasury announced sanctions against two Russian individuals and three entities over their support for North Korea’s weapons program.

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