Making even a single long-range missile or rocket hit its target is mind-bogglingly complicated. But it pales in comparison to the task of building an arsenal of missiles that could be relied on in a war to strike the far-off places they’re programmed to attack.
North Korea’s far more advanced rival, South Korea, has failed twice since 2009 to launch a satellite on a rocket from its own territory, and postponed two attempts in recent weeks because of technical problems.
There have also been claims that the stage uses a more advanced fuel called UDMH, but it appears instead to be the kerosene-based fuel used in Scuds. In his recent RAND study, Markus Schiller noted that a test Iraq performed using UDMH in a Scud engine gave poor performance, and that burning UDMH gives a transparent flame. The North Korean video of the launch instead shows an orange flame characteristic of Scud fuels (Figure 3 is an image from 12:44 into the video). These findings confirm that the stage is still Scud-level technology.
The US really isn't Pyongyang's target, Seoul and Tokyo are
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