Article: North Korean hybrid missiles ‘could threaten the US’ (New Scientist – 4 Aug 2004)
I guess it’s time to invade a new land, eh?
Ballistic missiles capable of striking the US mainland are being developed by North Korea from decommissioned Soviet hardware, according to a UK military journal.
The report in Jane’s Defence Weekly suggests North Korea has modified technology used in old Soviet submarines to construct both land and sea-based ballistic missile systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
A sea-based missile system would enable North Korea to threaten mainland US for the first time. It would also place the nation alongside the US, UK, France, China and Russia in having such a strategic threat. …
Commenting on the sea-based system, Stephen Saunders, editor of another Jane’s publication Jane’s Fighting Ships, told New Scientist that it would be much more likely to involve surface ships than submarines.
“Purely from a technical point of view, using surface ships would appear to be the way ahead,” he said, as building a new submarine or modifying an existing one to incorporate such a missile system would be extremely difficult.
Bhupendra Jasani, at the Department of War Studies at Kings College London in the UK, notes two cautionary points. Firstly, the rockets use liquid fuel, meaning they could not be safely kept ready for deployment. Also, there is little hard evidence that North Korea has developed or tested nuclear warheads that could be fitted to such missiles.
Western powers remain concerned about North Korea’s military capabilities and, in particular, the nation’s nuclear programme. But Jasani claims information about North Korea’s missile program can often be traced to US government’s efforts to garner support for a missile defence system.