According to the Pentagon, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile around 9:17 a.m. Alaska Time on Tuesday. It was the first launch from the rogue regime in more than two months.
Initial assessments from the Department of Defense indicates that the missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from Sain Ni, North Korea. It reached an altitude of 4,500 km and traveled about 1,000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan, within Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The missile flew about 54 minutes, landing 960 km from the launch site.
If the missile were fired on a flatter, standard trajectory, it would be have been able to reach any major city in the U.S., according to David Wright, a missile expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“If these numbers are correct, then if flown on a standard trajectory rather than this lofted trajectory, this missile would have a range of more than 13,000 kilometers (km) (8,100 miles).
“This is significantly longer than North Korea’s previous long range tests, which flew on lofted trajectories for 37 minutes (July 4) and 47 minutes (July 28). Such a missile would have more than enough range to reach Washington, D.C., and in fact any part of the continental United States,” Wright said.
“We do not know how heavy a payload this missile carried, but given the increase in range it seems likely that it carried a very light mock warhead. If true, that means it would be incapable of carrying a nuclear warhead to this long distance, since such a warhead would be much heavier,” he added.
With the North Korean nuclear threat seeming to increase, Hawaii emergency officials announced on Monday that the state would resume monthly testing of its Cold War-era nuclear attack warning sirens for the first time in about 30 years, in preparation for a potential missile launch by Pyongyang.
The first such test of the air raid system will take place Friday.
The air distance between the North Korea launch site and Honolulu is 4,599 miles. To hit Anchorage, the missile would only need to travel 3,564 miles.