How North Korea Developed Missiles So Quickly
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James Drew | Aviation Week & Space Technology
North Korea's rapid development of a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking Chicago has one missile defense analyst asking: "Who's your 'sugar daddy?'" How did one of the poorest nations on Earth advance from first nuclear detonation in 2006 to flight-testing a fully fledged Hwasong-14 ICBM in the same time span that it took the U.S. to go from the Trinity test to first launch of the Atlas ICBM?
With U.S. President Donald Trump promising "fire and fury" if North Korea keeps threatening the U.S. with missiles, and Pyongyang detailing plans to strike the U.S. territory of Guam with a barrage of intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM), the Korean Peninsula has become a powder keg that seems nearer to exploding than at any time since the Korean War.
U.S. military officials say despite the heated rhetoric, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland are well-defended by Aegis ships and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense batteries, as well as long-range, silo-based exoatmospheric interceptors based in Alaska and California.
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U.S. military leaders say that despite war plans being drawn up, there are no "good options" for dealing with North Korea, and diplomacy should take the lead for now. But if left unchecked, the missile threat will grow worse over time.
Uzi Rubin, who previously led Israel's Missile Defense Organization and founded the Arrow antiballistic missile program, wonders if North Korea is receiving outside financing or is propping up its missile program by exporting high-value military or nuclear technologies abroad, with one likely candidate being Iran. The regime might simply be dumping all its resources into one nuclear missile basket and cannibalizing resources from other civil or military projects.
In recent years, missile development has become a national priority, seen as critical to the...
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