Unexpected advances in North Korea’s missile program technology have been recently released through photos
On Wednesday, North Korean media KCNA announced that leader Kim Jong Un had just visited the country’s Chemical Material Institute.
“He instructed the institute to produce more solid-fuel rocket engines and rocket warhead tips by further expanding engine production process,” one statement said.
However, it was the photos that immediately caught the attention of missile analysts.
“This is the North Koreans showing us, or at least portraying, that their solid-fuel missile program is improving at a steady rate,” David Schmerler, research associate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies’ James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said
There is one specific photo of Kim in which a poster on the wall reveals a clear mentioning of a missile called “Pukguksong-3.” It is believed to be the successor of the previous two versions of the missile that were both solid-fuel, medium-range projectiles.
Michael Duitsman, research associate at the James Martin Center, said that North Korea’s desire to build solid-fuel missile comes from their need of projectiles that are quickly launched, but subtle at the same time.
“Solid fuel missiles are much faster to deploy … a solid fuel missile is always fueled so all they have to do is drive it to the place they want to launch it. It’s much easier to put into action, much harder to catch before it launches because they’re a lot less in terms of launch preparations that could be done.” he said.
In another picture, the North Korean leader stands close to a large copper-colored container. Experts say that it could be a wound-filament reinforced plastic rocket casing.
“It’s not a missile test but it’s still very disconcerting for people who look at the North Korean ballistic missile program. Seeing the casing … is sooner than I expected.” Duitsman said