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LostCosmonaut

North Korea's ICBMs and You

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By now everyone's probably heard that North Korea's probably got their nuclear weapons small enough to fit on an ICBM; https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/north-korea-now-making-missile-ready-nuclear-weapons-us-analysts-say/2017/08/08/e14b882a-7b6b-11e7-9d08-b79f191668ed_story.html?utm_term=.9e27bcd93746

 

That article gives an upper bound of 60 warheads (most other sources I've seen are lower, around 20-25). That's more than one for every state! Is America in existential danger?

 

The answer is no, not exactly. 60 warheads is nothing compared to our own arsenal, or what the Soviets had pointed at us back in the day. Assuming each warhead kills 200,000 people (probably an overestimate, North Korea has not yet developed hydrogen bombs, and they are probably reserving a significant amount of their warhead for use against South Korea / Japan / ground forces on the Korean Peninsula) that's 12 million deaths. That would be by far the worst tragedy in American history, and would have massive effects on society as a whole, but it is only a small percentage of our population (ballpark 4%). France about the suffered the same proportion of casualties in World War 1 and won, while Paraguay lost 70% of its male population in the War of the Triple Alliance and still exists nowadays (albeit with less territory than before).

 

Now that I'm done channeling my inner LeMay, what exactly can we do about North Korean missiles? I'm going to discount a preemptive strike; finding road mobile missiles is hard as shit, and any attempt to do that would almost certainly result in a war that leaves thousands if not millions of Koreans, Japanese, Americans, and others dead (this is bad).

 

Here's a great circle route from Wonsan (city on North Korea's east coast) to Albany, one of the farthest northeast targets likely to be hit.

8ZOLu3w.png

(being an asshole, Kim Jong Un will not use one of his warheads to cure America of Patriots fans once and for all)

 

And here's a route from Wonsan to San Diego, about as far southwest as you can get in CONUS.

 

mq9G89k.png

(interestingly enough, the difference in range is only about 700 miles or so)

 

You'll notice that both trajectories fly pretty near Alaska (most trajectories to the middle of the US will actually overfly the state). Clearly, if we want to intercept North Korean missiles, that's where we should put our defences. Boost phase interception is logistically tricky and relies on parking your weapon system right near a nuclear armed country. Terminal phase interception requires you to put a whole bunch of interceptors near any likely target, which just isn't worth it for 60 (probably more like 10) missiles.

 

The US military, not being entirely run by morons, has put their existing missile defenses in Alaska already; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-Based_Midcourse_Defense

However, that system has had a mixed record in tests. However, it is getting better, and it probably our best option in the near term for defense against missiles.

 

You can make the problem easier by not requiring a direct hit on the North Korean missile to kill it. Now, instead of having to hit a target travelling at hypersonic speeds with another chunk of metal at hypersonic speeds, you can just get sort of near it. We had that problem solved back in the 70s (though a modern version would need a bit more range to cover all trajectories at midcourse). Of course, detonating 5 megaton warheads in the upper atmosphere opens up a whole political can of worms and other issues and makes people unhappy and oh god it's such a pain. Good luck dealing with that.

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4CGGNfM.jpg

 

http://imp-navigator.livejournal.com/636544.html

Real names of Best Korean ICBMs and tactical missiles

http://www.neams.ru/настоящее-имя/

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   Part of the real names, such as Hwaseong-5 and Hwaseong-6, was of course known for a long time, the names of the new missiles are also known, but some missiles, such as the North Korean copy of the "Tochka" - were known for many years only under Western names and Indices. And finally, real names from the famous expert Vladimir Khrustalev, who recently visited Pyongyang exposition "Strategic Missiles" in the Museum of Armament and Equipment of the KPA.

 

Luna - "Hwaseong-1" (Mars-1)
Luna-M - Hwaseong-3 (Mars-3)
SCUD-B - Hwaseong-5 (Mars-5)
SCUD-C - Hwaseon-6 (Mars-6)
"Nodon" (sometimes referred to as SCUD-D and Nodon-A) - "Hwaseong-7" (Mars-7)
SCUD-ER - "Hwaseong-9" (Mars-9)

Spoiler

Not 100% sure that this is Mars-9, but those missiles were refered as SCUD-ER

 


KN-02 - Hwaseong-11 (Mars-11)

 

P.S. For the sake of completeness, I will add the well-known official names of new missiles
The rocket known in the west as "Musudan" is "Hwaseong-10"

 

The new liquid BRSD - "Hwaseon-12"

Spoiler

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New liquid ICBM - "Hwaseon-14"

Spoiler

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Solid-fueled - "Pukykson-1"
Solid-fueled ground-based - "Pukykson-2"

Spoiler

3913971_original.jpg

 

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In the interests of boosting this forum's traffic I'm putting this here, but it could also go in the Shitty Journalism Thread; http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/Now-that-North-Korea-has-nuclear-missiles-what-11743844.php?ipid=hpctp

 

Let's use an air dropped hydrogen bomb as the analogue for a North Korean ICBM warhead (DPRK has never built an H-Bomb)!

thinkface.png

 

 

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The 2013 test and the 2016 tests both had an estimated 10-20 kt TNT yield, so their weapons are more or less as deadly as Fat Man. The Norks would need to have 3 direct hits on Guam to put the two airports and naval out of action if we assume that they don't have hydrogen weapons. NUKEMAP would put the fatalities of such a strike at 15,000+ on Guam. 

 

A 20 kt strike in downtown Tokyo kills 130,000+, but I don't know why the Norks would hit downtown Tokyo instead of JASDF/USAF bases first. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Priory_of_Sion said:

 

A 20 kt strike in downtown Tokyo kills 130,000+, but I don't know why the Norks would hit downtown Tokyo instead of JASDF/USAF bases first. 

 

 

 

Because REMOVE ANIMEA!!! That's why!

 

...

 

Have we ever concluded that Kim Jong Un wasn't Tied's Alt Account? 

 

I mean they were/are both fat fuckers with speech impediments and a proclivity for hamburgers.

 

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/474412/Kim-Jung-Un-Big-Mac

 

 

 

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Will try to go through General artillery and missiles thread to find all my Best Korean ICBM posts.

 

http://imp-navigator.livejournal.com/631778.html

 

   Successful test launch of the first North Korean ICBM "Hwasong-14" (from Yuri Lyamin's blog)

Quote

   According to an official statement from the DPRK, the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 flew 933 kilometers, reached an altitude of 2802 kilometers and hit the target exactly 39 minutes after the launch. That the launched North Korean missile flew about 40 minutes over a distance of more than 930 km and reached a height well beyond 2500 km was reported by the Japanese Defense Ministry earlier.
   The missile was launched with the steepest possible trajectory to the minimum possible range, according to the first preliminary estimates, when launching along a normal trajectory, the missile could reach from 6700 to 9000 km, which means that at least the whole of Alaska and Hawaii is in the radius of strike, but if 9000 km. estimation is true, rhen there is almost all the western coast of the USA in the effective radius.

 

0_15dea7_6ee99e94_orig

 

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   North Koreans decided not to risk self-propelled missiles carriers and with its help just installed missile on the launch pad and drove away from the launch site. North Koreans in 2011 it purchased eight of these Chinese special chassis WS51200 from Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Co., Ltd. Now, China is unlikely to deliver them, so Koreans obviously are trying to save as as best as they can.

 

Spoiler

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Ted Postol isn't that well regarded in the analyst community to my knowledge (though much of that is due to disagreeing with conventional thought on sarin attacks in Syria). More importantly, I really don't like this bit;

 

Quote

 


If North Korea is using a spherical implosion device modified from a Chinese design obtained by Pakistan and then obtained by Libya,
 

 

 

Basically, they're using a thirdhand warhead design from ~2003 (when Gaddhafi gave up his weapons program) to guess at North Korean warhead design in 2017.

 

Edit: Ted Postol has also used shitty analysis to conclude that Iron Dome is a failure; https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2016/02/18/dont-doubt-the-iron-dome/

 

He should probably not be listened to at this point, assuming that article is decent. @Mighty_Zuk Does that article I linked have accurate information about Iron Dome?

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The article is indeed very accurate and very comprehensive in debunking Postol's and others' claims.

It's actually very easy to determine the effectiveness of Iron Dome even if you're no expert or have no connections with the military:

 

Look at the number of rockets that were fired, number of alarms, then amount of rockets that have fallen in cities.

If you see a significant difference between the number of alarms and fallen rockets, you have a successful system.

And it's obtainable through open sources.

 

If that's not enough, then if the Iron Dome would really have low interception rates, the public would be first to know. You can't really hide a demolished house or a crater in the middle of a city from the public. There are social media and police reports.

 

Postol also makes another fatal mistake. He compares the Patriot with Iron Dome. The only flaw with Patriot was that it was designed to shoot down fixed wing aircraft, not ballistic missiles.

But once its software was updated to defeat ballistic missiles, during that same operation, it started showing remarkable results for a system of its time.

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