Beware Kim, Minuteman can wipe North Korea off the map
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un loves to indulge in blatant chest-thumping and issue frequent threats to the United States. Call it his political naivety, Kim does not realise that he is literally entering into a lion's den by provoking the US and especially the country's President Donald Trump, infamous for his freaky decisions, putting everyone at peril. God forbid if Trump decides to hit back at Kim, then he might one day bomb the entire Asian country, wiping it out from the world's map.
There is no doubt that North Korea has made rapid progress in its missile and nuclear programmes. The country might even possess a few missiles that could have the capacity to hit the eastern US.
However, North Korea can never match up to the military might of the US. One must note that the US's Minuteman missiles can hit the whole of North Korea.
With all that Kim has, he may, at best, get one shot at the US, or maybe a couple of strikes at Alaska or Guam. North Korea does not have resources to fight a sustained war. When the US hits back, North Korea may not even be able to last even for a week. Sustained war requires a continuous supply of spare parts and ammunition, massive quantities of oil and a huge stockpile of the missiles.
They have conducted nuclear tests and ICBM tests, but test firing a missile and it being in service are two entirely different things. Beyond its high profile nuclear and missile programmes, the country's armed forces are believed to be undermined by decrepit equipment and vehicles.
North Korea is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles of varying ranges. Short range missiles such as Hwasong-5 and Hwasong-6 (both variants of Scud missiles) can easily hit targets in South Korea, while medium-range Nodong missiles can hit all of Japan.
Longer range Musudan missile has an estimated range of anywhere from 1,550 to 2,500 miles. At the top end, it could reach US military bases on Guam. North Korea was believed to be developing a longer range intercontinental ballistic missile called the KN-08. The Pentagon said last year it believed the missile "would likely be capable of reaching much of the continental United States".
While it is estimated the regime already has 15 to 30 nuclear warheads, it would face serious difficulties if a conventional war broke out.
US's Minuteman III can wreak havoc in North Korea:
North Korea's Hwasong missiles are no match to America's LGM-30 Minuteman missiles. The US has close to 450 Minuteman III missiles deployed at four bases in the north-central United States. These bases are Minot AFB and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966 and included several improvements over the previous versions. Minuteman 3 uses solid propellants and hence can be launched in a matter of minutes. Previous long-range missiles used liquid fuels that could only be loaded just prior to firing. The loading process took from 30 to 60 minutes in typical designs. Minuteman was designed from the outset to be launched in minutes.
The LGM-30 Minuteman missiles are kept in hardened silos to protect against attack and connected to an underground launch control center. In an operational attack, the LGM-30 would be armed with a Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle or "MIRV". The MIRV payload on a Minuteman III includes three separate 300-500 kiloton nuclear warheads with independent targets.
The U.S. Air Force in August this year conducted an operational test of its LGM-30 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Although the exact range of Minuteman is classified, it is estimated that it can hit targets even 13,000 kms away.
Moreover, US also missiles deployed in the seas. Time to strike targets in North Korea from missile bases in the U.S. Midwest and West coast may be less than 40 minutes from launch to impact, but submarine-launched ballistic missiles deployed closer to the Korean peninsula would likely have weapons on target in much less time.
Before messing with the US, Kim ought to consider what may happen afterward. The US may not show any restraint if its territory is attacked. And once the US comes down at North Korea with full force, the country may not be able to survive. After all the US is the only country in the world to ever employ nuclear bombs in a war. Kim must not forget what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 when the US dropped nuclear bombs on these Japanese cities.