North Korean ICBM ‘likely’ to be able to strike San Diego with two years, analysis says

July 12, 2017

The Japan Times:

North Korea’s new long-range ballistic missile will “likely” be able to strike targets on the U.S. West Coast — including San Diego — with a 500-kilogram nuclear warhead in the next one to two years, the U.S.-based monitoring group has said in an analysis.

The influential 38 North website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said in the report released Monday that the North’s test last week of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, highlighted the isolated regime’s technological shortcomings — but also its advances.

While earlier reports said the ICBM could have traveled some 7,000-8,000 km if launched on a standard rather than “lofted” trajectory, aerospace engineer John Schilling said in the analysis, adding that “it can probably do a bit better than that when all the bugs are worked out.”

At present, he said, it “would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target.”

But once the technology is refined, a missile carrying a 500-kg warhead could potentially hit targets up to 9,700 km away, according to Schilling’s projections.

“With a year or two of additional testing and development, it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the U.S. west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases” such as the one in San Diego, he wrote…

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International Cooperation