A missile launch experiment announced by North Korea.
We talked to Yu Koizumi, a military analyst and assistant professor at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo, about what can be read from the presentation.
What is a "new tactical guided bullet"?
The weapon that North Korea calls a "new tactical guided weapon" is an unfamiliar weapon. What is this?
A "guided bullet" is a missile.
Also, those that attack on the actual battlefield, such as enemy units and airfields, are called "tactical weapons."
For this reason, the "new tactical guided missile" can be thought of as a new type of ballistic missile that attacks the enemy with a relatively short range.
North Korea introduced a new missile at the military parade in January, and when I saw the image of the launch experiment, I felt that it was a launch experiment of the new missile.
What is your aim?
What is the aim of the "new tactical guided bullet"?
I think North Korea is trying to develop ballistic missiles that have the ability to break through the missile defense systems of each country.
This time, it flew at least 450 km, and the altitude reached is estimated to be about 60 km.
This altitude is considerably lower than that of a normal ballistic missile.
It seems that it is intentionally intended to fly low and delay the radar detection of the enemy as much as possible.
Originally, North Korea has been developing a missile similar in shape to Russia's "Iskander" short-range ballistic missile, which flies at low altitude and changes its trajectory on the way.
Looking at the images released, I thought that this "new tactical guided bullet" was a larger and improved version of the conventional "North Korean version of Iskander."
Read from the warhead weight
North Korea has announced that the warhead weighs 2.5 tons.
Is there anything you can read from here?
For a ballistic missile of this size, the weight of a warhead of 2.5 tons is unusually large.
Normally, a missile of this size would normally carry between 500 kilograms and a ton of explosives or nuclear warheads.
A nuclear warhead could be mounted on the warhead.
At the Workers' Party of Korea Convention in January, General Secretary Kim Jong-un mentioned "development of tactical nuclear weapons."
In other words, the nuclear warheads are loaded on missiles with a shorter range than the conventional large ballistic missiles aimed at the continental United States.
For this reason, it is probable that a missile with a relatively short range but a large warhead was needed.
Another possibility is to load a large amount of explosives and aim for a conventional high-power weapon.
What is the range?
Will it reach Japan?
How long is the missile?
Will it reach Japan?
The "new tactical guided bullet" is considered to have a relatively short range, and I think North Korea is supposed to use it on the battlefield within the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea claims to have flown a distance of 600 kilometers in its announcement.
On the other hand, Japan and South Korea are 450 kilometers, and there is a difference in distance.
It is not clear why the North Korean side announced it exaggeratedly, or whether the warhead did not fall at the point where Japan and South Korea caught it and flew further.
If the flight distance was 600 km, the whole of Korea would be in range.
If the warhead is made lighter, the range will be extended, and Japan will be included, so I think we must consider what kind of missile defense system Japan will take.