During a massive military parade in North Korea, Kim Jong Un rolled out a fearsome missile that can pack several atomic weapons in a single projectile that could likely target any US city by overwhelming defense systems, according to reports.
Weapons experts said the likely engine configuration of the “monster” Hwasong-16 intercontinental ballistic missile would allow it to deliver several thousand pounds of payload anywhere in the U.S., according to Bloomberg News.
The despot apparently learned from the former Soviet Union that it’s more effective to add warheads to a single system rather than to build more missiles, according to Ankit Panda, author of “Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea.”
“They can saturate the defenses by having more re-entry vehicles than the US can ever hope to defend against,” Panda, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Monday at a web seminar hosted by South Korea-based NK News.
Panda estimated that the Hwasong-16 could hold as many as four warheads. The Hwasong-15, which Kim launched in November 2017, was believed to have a single warhead, Bloomberg reported.
The Hermit Kingdom would need to launch 11 single-warhead ICBMs to have at least a 1-in-3 chance of evading missile defense systems and detonating a thermonuclear device on an American city, Panda said.
The more warheads it can fire, the greater the chance of overwhelming US defense systems, he added.
“If the North Koreans have questions about the performance of their own re-entry vehicles, putting multiple reentry vehicles on a ballistic missile simply increases the chances that one of those will successfully detonate,” Panda said.
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