North Korea announced that it successfully test-launched a “solid-fuel hypersonic intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM),” marking the first missile test by the country in the new year.
The missile was fired towards the East Sea, and the test, according to North Korean sources, proceeded without any impact on the safety of neighboring countries or relevance to regional geopolitics.
Chosun Central News Agency, on January 15, stated, “The Missile Bureau of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea conducted a test launch of a solid-fuel ballistic missile with a hypersonic maneuverable control combat unit attached.”
The announcement emphasized that the test was part of routine activities aimed at developing robust weapon systems and had no implications for the safety of surrounding nations or the regional landscape.
The hypersonic missile claimed by North Korea is designed to travel at speeds exceeding Mach 5. After separating from the warhead, it maneuvers at a low altitude, making interception challenging. Utilizing solid fuel, the missile distinguishes itself from liquid-fuel counterparts by eliminating the need for separate fuel injection, providing a tactical advantage in surprise attacks.
North Korea asserts that this test launch is a regular part of its activities to develop a powerful arsenal. The hypersonic solid-fuel IRBM, if proven successful, poses a threat with a range exceeding 3,000 kilometers, enabling it to target locations such as Guam from Pyongyang.
This test marks North Korea’s first test of a hypersonic missile since January 2022.