December 07, 2017
Ankit Panda | Diplomat
On November 29, at 2:47 a.m. local time, North Korea carried out the first-ever launch of what is to date its largest and most powerful ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15. The launch ended a more than two-month pause in North Korean ballistic missile testing and refocused attention on the country’s rapid advances in ballistic missile technology in 2017. Designated the KN22 by the U.S. intelligence community, the Hwasong-15 is North Korea’s second-ever liquid-fueled intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) design to see flight testing. Prior to its November 29 launch, the missile had never been seen publicly.
The work on the Barguzin rail-mobile ballistic missile system has been excluded from Russia’s new state armament plan for 2018-2027 due to lack of financing, a source in the Russian defense ministry told TASS on Wednesday. Instead, Russia has decided to focus on developing Sarmat and Rubezh intercontinental ballistic missiles, the source said.
Nancy A. Youssef | Wall Street Journal
U.S. intelligence and military officials believe Kim Jong Un is a rational actor, a conclusion that for now is guiding Washington’s approach to the North Korean leader as he risks economic sanctions and military reprisals to build nuclear weapons and threaten rivals.
Mick Krever | CNN
South Korea believes there is “no concrete evidence” that North Korea has mastered the technology to deliver a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile, the country’s foreign minister has told CNN. Kang Kyung-wha told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview taped Monday that while North Korea’s weapons program had developed far faster than expected, Pyongyang had yet to demonstrate it had achieved some key technical capabilities that would show it could successfully fire a nuclear warhead.
France and Germany agree that Iran must reverse its ballistic missile programme and end its “hegemonic temptations” across the Middle East, the French foreign minister said on Monday. “We also have the same view on the necessity for Iran to go back on its ballistic missile programme and its hegemonic temptations,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a news conference alongside his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel.
Patrick Tucker | Defense One
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., raised more than a few eyebrows (and drew a few rolled eyes) when he suggested in November that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could intercept North Korean missiles headed for the United States. Hunter cited analysis from Los Alamos National Labs and other sources, according to Inside Defense. Turns out the F-35 may be an ICBM buster after all, or at least be helpful toward that end. On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman called a small group of journalists to its offices in Linthicum, Maryland, to show the results of a 2014 experiment conducted with the Missile Defense Agency, or MDA.
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