US experts are of opinion that North Korea's claims about their latest test of ICBM Hwasong 15 could indeed be true and the missile may have sufficient power to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in America.
After a hiatus of close to two months, North Korea on Wednesday successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-15. North Korea claimed that it can strike anywhere on the United States mainland.
Hwasong-15, an upgraded version of Hwasong 14, is said to be considerably larger than its predecessor.
Experts, however, still remained skeptical about the new missile's re-entry capabilities and the accuracy of its guidance systems.
When a ballistic missiles re-enters the earth's atmosphere, it should be able to withstand the heat generated because of friction with the air. The nose cone of Hwasong 15 is blunter than that of Hwasong 14, which will reduce its re-entry speed a bit.
A Reuters report quoted missile expert, Michael Elleman, as saying that initial calculations indicate that the new missile could deliver a moderately sized nuclear weapon to any city on the U.S. mainland
He said that a few more tests are still needed to ascertain Hwasong 15's performance and reliability.
During Wednesday's test firing, Hwasong-15 reached heights of almost 4,500 kilometers and covered a distance of around 950 kilometers before splashing into the sea around 210 kms from Japan's Aomori Prefecture. Experts opine that had the missile been fired on a standard trajectory, the Hwasong-15 would have been capable of traveling 13,000 kilometers.
This was North Korea's 20th test launch of a ballistic missile this year and it has reignited tensions in the region after a lull of more than two months.