North Korea Claims to Have Tested 'Hypersonic' Missile
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Sept 29, 2021)
The Hwasong-8 newly-developed hypersonic missile is test-fired by the Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK in Toyang-ri, North Korea, in this undated photo released on September 29, 2021 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) state media outlet reported on Wednesday that a missile tested on Tuesday had a hypersonic glide component, although this claim has not been independently verified.

The South Korean military had announced the North's launch of a missile on Tuesday, but have not officially specified the type, or how far it had flown.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had ordered a "thorough analysis" of the test launch earlier on Wednesday, before the North's claims.

'Hypersonic' with fuel 'ampoule'

Hypersonic missiles are capable of traveling at least five times speed of sound, and are more difficult to track and intercept.

The KCNA report called the missile a Hwasong 8, saying that it has "great strategic significance," seeming to imply a nuclear capability.

It also said the test launch confirmed the stability and performance of the engine and the "ampoule" fuel system, which KCNA said it was testing for the first time. Ampoule is the Russian term for liquid-propellant missiles that can be fueled during production and then sent to the field in canisters. It means that soldiers do not need to fuel the missiles in the field, potentially during combat, before launch.

KNCA said Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean Marshal and a member of the politburo presidium, attended the launch; it did not mention leader Kim Jong Un.

According to KCNA, Pak "also noted the military significance of turning all missile fuel systems into ampoules."

North Korea's announcement comes after the United States said Tuesday it had successfully tested its own hypersonic missile system, and was moving ahead with plans to make the missiles operational by the US military.

Russia, China and other countries are also developing hypersonic weapons systems.

Meanwhile, South Korea launched a new homegrown submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles on Tuesday.

Tuesday's test also coincided with a meeting of North Korea's parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, and the presentation of Volume 39 of a series of books on the purported life and achievements of former leader Kim Jong Il, who died almost 10 years ago

North Korea has recently resumed testing weapons in defiance of UN and US-led sanctions. At the close of the UN General Assembly late Monday in New York, Pyongyang's envoy insisted the North had a right to test weapons as a "deterrent."

Kim's influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, last week seemed to suggest that renewed peace talks with South Korea were possible, but only if Seoul abandoned "hostile policies," a term Pyongyang often uses to refer to international sanctions against North Korea and US-South Korean joint military activities.

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Hypersonic Missile Newly Developed by Academy of Defence Science Test-fired
(Source: North Korean Central News Agency; issued Sept. 28, 2021)
The Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK test-fired a hypersonic missile Hwasong-8 newly developed by it in Toyang-ri, Ryongrim County of Jagang Province on Tuesday morning.

Pak Jong Chon, member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, watched the test-launch with leading officials in the sector of national defence science.

The development of the hypersonic missile, one of 5 top-priority tasks of the five-year plan facing the field of strategic weapon for the development of defence science and weapon system set forth at the 8th Congress of the Party, has been pushed forward according to a sequential, scientific and reliable development process.

The development of this weapon system which has been regarded as a top priority work under the special care of the Party's Central Committee is of great strategic significance in markedly boosting the independent power of ultra-modern defence science and technology of the country and in increasing the nation's capabilities for self-defence in every way.

In the first test-launch, national defence scientists confirmed the navigational control and stability of the missile in the active section and also its technical specifications including the guiding maneuverability and the gliding flight characteristics of the detached hypersonic gliding warhead.

It also ascertained the stability of the engine as well as of missile fuel ampoule that has been introduced for the first time.

The test results proved that all the technical specifications met the design requirements.

Pak Jong Chon mentioned the strategic importance of the development of the hypersonic missile and its deployment for action. He also noted the military significance of turning all missile fuel systems into ampoules.

He stressed the need for all the defence science research teams and workers of the munitions industry to rise up with higher spirit to implement the decisions made at the 8th Party Congress true to our Party's policy of prioritizing defence science and technology and thus make greater successes in the work of increasing the country's defence capabilities thousand-fold.

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