Hwasong-12 missile threat to Guam
August 10, 2017 -- North Korea outlined on Thursday detailed plans for a missile strike near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.
Gen. Kim Rak-gyom, the commander of the Strategic Missile Force of the Korean People’s Army, said that four of the country’s Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) would fly over the three southern Japanese prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi. They will hit the ocean about 40km from the coast of Guam, 17 minutes and 45 seconds after launch.
If the planned launch goes ahead there was a risk that a missile could land much closer to Guam than planned – Guam’s territorial water extends for 12 nautical miles or 22.2km.
Guam, more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people and a U.S. Navy installation that includes a submarine squadron, a Coast Guard group and an air base.
To date, there have been four test flights of the Hwasong-12, also known as the KN-17. The first three were failures. However, the most recent flight on May 15 from a location near the city of Kusong was a success.
On its 30-minute flight, the missile flew 787 kilometres and lofted to an apogee of just over 2,111km. This trajectory indicates that the missile could have flown around 4,500km if fired on a range-maximizing ballistic trajectory. According to one technical analysis of the launch, the full range of the Hwasong 12 could be closer to 3,700km carrying a 650kg warhead.