Explanation-North Korea is developing ICBMs. What are they?

Here are some characteristics of North Korea’s ICBMs and ICBM arsenal.


ICBMs are ballistic missiles with a minimum range of about 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles), primarily designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons. Some are capable of traveling 10,000 km (6,200 miles) or more.

Some missiles carry only a single warhead, but modern ICBMs can carry multiple warheads, each capable of hitting a separate aiming point, on Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs).

ICBMs can be launched from multiple platforms. Fixed launch sites such as missile silos offer more protection but are vulnerable to preemptive strikes. Mobile launchers, including submarines, heavy trucks, and rails, are harder to detect and offer greater mobility, but are vulnerable if caught in the open.


Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and India have deployed ICBMs, either on land or at sea.

North Korea conducted the first successful test of its Hwasong-14 ICBM in July 2017.


Shortly after two successful Hwasong-14 trials, North Korea launched a new ICBM, the Hwasong-15, in November 2017.

The mainland of the United States is about 9,000 km (5,500 miles) from North Korea, and some American and South Korean experts believe that the two missiles can travel more than 10,000 km (6,213 miles) , bringing many parts of the United States within reach.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said after the Hwasong-15 test that the country had achieved the “great historical cause of completing the state’s nuclear force”.

In March 2022, North Korea launched its massive Hwasong-17 ICBM for the first time after unveiling it at a pre-dawn military parade in October 2020. The missile is large enough to potentially deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States.

Unlike all of North Korea’s previous ICBM tests, the Hwasong-17 was launched directly from an 11-axle transporter-erector-launcher vehicle, which experts say is the largest mobile ICBM on the road. liquid fuel in the world.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

By Hyonhee Shin

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