A close review of photos from North Korea’s recent military parade shows that the Kim regime may be closer to building a functional nuclear missile that can threaten the US mainland than previously thought.
While some experts doubt that all the missile launcher tubes driving around Pyongyang really held missiles or posed a much of a threat, Michael Duitsman, a research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, warned of a small but troubling detail on one of the missiles.
Duitsman told Business Insider in a phone interview that this may be wound filament-reinforced plastic, a very light alternative to metal that can withstand the incredible pressure of rocket motors. Tal Inbar, the head of the space research center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, first pointed this out.
“Part of the parade is them showing us what they’re working on,” Duitsman said. “Not stuff that’s operational, but stuff they’re actively working on. They’re showing us their intentions.”
Duitsman said wound filament-reinforced plastic has up to 10 times the strength-to-density ratio of aluminum and could greatly reduce the weight of a missile.
Referring to the booster portion of the missile as a stage, Duitsman said, “The lighter the stage is, the less propellant you need and the more you can put on top of it.” In this case, a lighter missile could be used to carry a nuclear warhead.