North Korea tests Hwasongpho-16B missile loaded with a hypersonic glide warhead

North Korea tests Hwasongpho-16B missile loaded with a hypersonic glide warhead

Asia Hypersonic missiles North Korea (DPRK) Tests World

North Korea broadcasted footage of the test launch of the Hwasongpho-16B hypersonic missile.

North Korean TV released a video of the test.

On April 2, the DPRK conducted a test launch of a Hwasongpho-16B ballistic missile (also known as Hwasong-16B) with a newly designed hypersonic warhead.

The test launch was conducted from a site outside of North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, in the presence of high-ranking military officials and the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

The official North Korean statement claims that the missile reached its first peak at the height of 101.1 kilometers and the second at 72.3 kilometers while making a 1,000-km-long flight as scheduled to accurately hit the waters of the Sea of Japan.

North Korea’s release states that the Hwasongpho-16B test demonstrated the boost-glide vehicle’s ability to conduct “gliding-skip” maneuvers and to rapidly change direction.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported the missile was launched from an area near the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and flew about 600 kilometers.

The spokesperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that the launch likely followed up on a North Korean test of a solid-fuel engine built for a new intermediate-range hypersonic missile it has been developing.

However, the flight parameters of the Hwasongpho-16B and whether the North Korean system was actually able to reach a hypersonic speed equal to or above Mach 5 are currently unknown.

Based on the footage and the known launcher components parameters, South Korean analysts were able to roughly estimate the dimensions of the new missile and hypersonic warhead.

According to the calculations, the hypersonic boost-glide vehicle in its thickest part has a circular cross-section with a height and width of 2070 mm, but in the middle part, it narrows to 1461 mm.

It is worth noting that this is not the first test of such a “hypersonic” warhead, which is designed as a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle.

In September 2021, the DPRK launched a Hwasong 8 missile with a similar warhead design. However, then, a liquid-fuel accelerator was used.

Балістична "гіперзвукова" ракета КНДР Hwasong 8. Вересень 2021. Фото: ЗМІ КНДР

A similar hypersonic maneuverable warhead was also presented at the North Korean National Defense Development Exhibition “Self-Defense 2021”. At the time, it was reported that the Hwasong 8 was developed by the North Korean Academy of National Defense Science.

It was noted that the hypersonic missile system was part of a five-year plan aimed at developing strategic weapons.

Asia Hypersonic missiles North Korea (DPRK) Tests World