North Korea has conducted the first test-firing of an indigenously developed ballistic missile system that looks like Russian-made Iskander-E short-range ballistic missile.
According to a news release put out by state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday attended a test-firing of “long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons.”
“Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un learned about the strike plan of the striking means of different calibers and inspected the fire readiness including the advance to and deployment of large-caliber long-range multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons in fire positions,” it continued.
North Korea has fired several short-range missiles from its east coast, South Korea’s military confirmed.
The missiles flew distances ranging from 70km to 200 km (44-124 miles), according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.
Later, North Korean state media released some new photo from exercises that showing the new short-range ballistic missile.
Research associate for defense and military analysis Joseph Dempsey tweeted Sunday morning that the newly tested North Korean ballistic missile appears to the be Russia Iskander missile system.
“The newly tested North Korean ballistic missile appears to the be Russia Iskander look-a-like revealed at the Feb 2018 parade,” he said on Twitter.
The design of the new complex is very similar to the Russian analog, and it copies the solid-propellant single-stage guided missile of the Iskander complex.
Director for Integrated Air and Missile Defense activities at Terma A/S Simon Petersen wrote in response to North Korean missile test: “In theory, this could be an Iskander-E that DPRK has obtained through the third party from Russia”.
Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, also said the North Korean missile appeared to be modeled after Russia’s 9K720 Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system. The solid-fuel North Korean missile, which was first revealed in a Pyongyang military parade in February, is potentially capable of conducting nuclear strikes on all areas of South Korea, Kim said.