North Korea continues making advancements in its missile technology, and, now, the country claims its making a “great leap forward.”
North Korean officials claim they successfully tested a new high-thrust engine. Accordingly, this can greatly advance its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
The test they conducted measured the engine’s thrust power in the combustion chamber. Additionally, they measured the engine’s structural safety and reliability and the turbine pump’s movement. The Korean Central News Agency reported the test occurred at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in the North Pyongan Province.
CNN military analyst Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said technologies North Korea is developing can allow them to fire missiles without advanced detection.
“That’s part of the issue,” he explained. “The other piece is when you’re talking about an intercontinental ballistic missile the types of warheads and the amount of weight that are in the missile itself have to be launched off of a pad. And the better they can improve their technology to do that, the more accurate these systems are going to be. Not only from leaving the pad, but also going into the atmosphere and then hitting the target on the other side.”
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un ordered the missile test. When the test succeeded, he said the world will “soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries.”
What North Korea’s missiles mean
Testing missiles is common practice in North Korea. They launched more than five missiles just in March — four occurring in one day on March 6. While many of the missiles succeeded in reaching their targets, many still failed.
However, Japan is not taking any risks in regards to missiles, as many of North Korea’s launches are aimed toward Japan. Japanese schoolchildren are now learning what to do in the event of an attack. When a missile launch drill occurs in schools, administrators rush the children toward a gymnasium or other large shelter.
Currently, Japan is increasing its military defense system. Additionally, the U.S. and South Korea use a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. Officials created the system to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles when they are in their terminal phase. Essentially, the system is the ‘last hope’ before a missile reaches its target. The system does not work for long-range missiles, which can pose a problem if North Korea continues advancing its technology.