A report from Jane’s by HIS Markit claims that the ballistic missile program of North Korea made use of external knowledge, technology or hardware.
Markus Schiller and Nick Hansen, two very highly respected experts in relation to the ballistic missile project of North Korea formed part of the report which was first published in jane’s’ Intelligence Review. The report analyses the launch in November 2017 of the Hwaseong-15 (also known as ‘Hwasong-15’) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
According to the assessment of Schiller and Hansen: “it is highly likely that North Korea made use of foreign knowledge, technology or hardware in the development of the Hwaseong-15 ICBM.”
Flowing the claim by the state media of North Korea that the missile launched was “capable of striking the whole mainland of the United States,” there was worldwide attention to the November launch. The launch also reflected a year in which a number of extraordinary advances had bene made by the ballistic missile programme of North Korea. A military parade in Pyongyang on February 8, four missiles that appeared to be Hwaseong-15 were displayed by North Korea.
“Given the limited time and test resource available to North Korea, it is highly unlikely that North Korea could design, develop, engine test and integrate the components into … intercontinental missile systems without external assistance,” the report notes.
Additionally, the Soviet era of ballistic missile program was the likely source of the external knowledge, technology or hardware derived by North Korea. “The design of the Hwaseong-15 missile is similar in some respects to the Soviet UR-100 family and there is a clear resemblance between the Hwaseong-15 first-stage engine and the Soviet RD-250 engine,” says the report.
However, it ad not been possible for Janes to make any assessment of whether the transfer happened on the basis of the information that is openly available. “The UR-100 family of missiles and the RD-250 engine have been in existence for decades,” said Neil Ashdown, deputy editor of Jane’s Intelligence Review.
“North Korea could have acquired information about them from a range of sources, including some available online,” Ashdown said. “Even if North Korea did acquire hardware relating to these systems, we cannot say with any confidence where that would have come from, and more importantly when. That does not mean a transfer did not take place — just that we cannot prove that based on the information we have.”
Before its first launch that took place in November of last year, there was no information about the Hwaseong-15 in open sources, the report notes. It further states that compared to the missiles that ad earlier belonged to North Korea, this latest one had some key differences. tis indicates that multiple lines of advancement and research was followed by the ballistic missile development program of North Korea.
(Adapted from Businesswire.com)