NHK video casts doubt on North Korean ICBM re-entry capabilities and effectiveness

August 1, 2017

Japan Times:

Video captured Friday of North Korea’s latest test of a powerful long-range missile appears to show the weapon’s re-entry vehicle “breaking up” over waters just off Hokkaido — a possible sign that the nuclear-armed country has yet to master technology critical to the warhead’s survival when returning to Earth, a report has found.

The report, released Tuesday by the North Korean-watching website 38 North, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed video taken by Japanese public broadcaster NHK’s Muroran, Hokkaido, affiliate after Pyongyang conducted the second test-firing of its Hwasong-14 ICBM in less than a month late Friday.

Experts have said Friday’s test flew higher and longer than the first, and now puts a large chunk of the United States — including Chicago and Los Angeles — within range of Pyongyang’s ever-improving weapons systems.

In the NHK recording, the camera looks across a bay toward where the missile’s re-entry vehicle (RV) — which shields a nuclear warhead from the rigors of returning to Earth at ICBM velocities — crashed into the sea about 150 km off the coast of Hokkaido.

Seconds into the video, the apparent re-entry vehicle slows and becomes so hot due to the dense air that it begins to glow as its descent is recorded by the camera…

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