Why North Korea's missiles aren't a threat Watch

LennyBicknel
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http://www.unitedpolitics.uk/2017/02...es-not-threat/

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Kaesar
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>No. It will never be used. It will be used, however, to get the regime what it needs...
What kind of article is this?
Of course they're a threat. Their missiles will keep getting better and better after every failed attempt.
We must stay cautious of this aggressive nation.
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Drewski
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The missiles aren't a threat (to us).


The numpties with their fingers on the buttons might be.
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999tigger
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Rubbish article imo because it presupposes the only scenario that NK would use such weapons would be to attempt to win a war. Agreed it uses the system to get attention, but the mere threat of starting a war or killing millions of people in Seoul, China or Japam would be enough to have far reaching implications for the world economy. Would they ever do it? The leadership is unpredictable. I think he is capable of it, so I wouldnt rule it out and that is enough. If he was under threat then I doubt the leadership cares for anyone except itself.
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uberteknik
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The threat is from nuclear proliferation and the highly increased risk of a nuclear weapon exchange in an already volatile region.

Mutually Assured Destruction is for countries with a strong diplomatic history and keeps the fragile peace.

Unfortunately nut-jobs, desperado's and religious extremists don't play by the same rules.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by Kaesar)
>No. It will never be used. It will be used, however, to get the regime what it needs...
What kind of article is this?
Of course they're a threat. Their missiles will keep getting better and better after every failed attempt.
We must stay cautious of this aggressive nation.
I think you missed the message of the article
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999tigger
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(Original post by Drewski)
The missiles aren't a threat (to us).


The numpties with their fingers on the buttons might be.
If they work then they are a threat to our allies and thus destabilise the region.
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Kaesar
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
I think you missed the message of the article
Quick rundown then?
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Drewski
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(Original post by 999tigger)
If they work then they are a threat to our allies and thus destabilise the region.
Still doesn't mean they're a direct threat to us, and that if is pretty big in context.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by Kaesar)
Quick rundown then?
It's saying they're not a threat as, despite the fact that they're getting 'better and better', they will ultimately never be used.
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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Rubbish article imo because it presupposes the only scenario that NK would use such weapons would be to attempt to win a war. Agreed it uses the system to get attention, but the mere threat of starting a war or killing millions of people in Seoul, China or Japam would be enough to have far reaching implications for the world economy. Would they ever do it? The leadership is unpredictable. I think he is capable of it, so I wouldnt rule it out and that is enough. If he was under threat then I doubt the leadership cares for anyone except itself.
Not sure I understand your point. How would they disrupt the world economy without using it within a war-like scenario?
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999tigger
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(Original post by Drewski)
Still doesn't mean they're a direct threat to us, and that if is pretty big in context.
Landing a nuclear missile on either Seoul or Tokyo or in fact any major city would have disastrous consequences for the world economy. Although they cant physically land one on UK territory yet (it may never happen) we still find international trade quite important.
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999tigger
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
Not sure I understand your point. How would they disrupt the world economy without using it within a war-like scenario?
By all accounts he is pretty unstable. He just had his brother murdered today. If at some stage his back was against the wall, then he has the power to order an attack irrespective of consequences or whether they could win a war. Destroying Seoul or a major city in Japan would be enough.


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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by 999tigger)
By all accounts he is pretty unstable. He just had his brother murdered today. If at some stage his back was against the wall, then he has the power to order an attack irrespective of consequences or whether they could win a war. Destroying Seoul or a major city in Japan would be enough.


I don't understand why Kim would decide to do that tho. Like yeah, he's a dictator, but that doesn't make him crazy. He still values his own life, no?
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999tigger
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
I don't understand why Kim would decide to do that tho. Like yeah, he's a dictator, but that doesn't make him crazy. He still values his own life, no?
Hes not stupid, but he also doesnt care about his people as much as himself. I would put him down as ruthlessly unstable. He has the power to order a launch, thus they are a threat whilst ever it is a possibility. If for instance he was about to lose power then i wouldnt rule him out of taking some very spiteful action.

Missiles get him a lot of leverage otherwise he would just be a dictator and they are ten a penny. As pointed out the other threat from nuclear is proliferation and having material go walkies.
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AlexanderHam
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The author of the article isn't particularly well-informed or knowledgeable about matters of rocketry, missiles and the like.

First, North Korea's long-range missile capability (ICBM-range that might be able to hit the United States) is, it's true, not particularly threatening. But that's not why the Western allies are concerned. The concern is about the threat to South Korea, Japan and to US installations at places like Guam, Atsugi Air Base and the like.

Second, the reason this recent test is particularly noteworthy is because they were testing a new (for them) technology called solid-fuel rocketry. The North Koreans have, in the past, used "liquid-fueled" rockets; these are rockets where you have to fill the rocket up with the rocket fuel before launching it. You can't just fill up a liquid-fueled rocket and leave it on the launchpad for years as the fuels are often quite volatile. The need to fuel the rocket before launch makes them quite unwieldy, and extremely vulnerable to counterstrike during the fueling process.

By contrast, solid-fuel rockets have an almost gunpowder-like substance in them. You can build a solid-fuel rocket and keep it ready for years on end, just waiting to launch. You don't need to fuel them; you simply build them. They're much more mobile so you can build a TEL (transporter-erector-launcher) vehicle that carries the rocket on its back to the launch site, then pushes the rocket with its nose in the air, then ejects the rocket into the air for a few seconds (called cold launch) and then the rocket engine starts when it's up in the air rather than still on the ground (which means the launch doesn't destroy the TEL vehicle). The mobility of these launch systems, along with their long "shelf-life", means in a wartime situation, you can send the TELs out from base into forests or other areas, and continue moving them around, which makes them much less vulnerable to enemy airpower.

Third, the current rocket tested can be launched from both submarine and from land. With the TEL and submarine-launch system, North Korea has created a weapons system that could be hard for the US and South Koreans to track, and which can be launched at very short notice.

Fourth, this current rocket system that was tested has the heft to carry a nuclear warhead, which means that when the rocket is mated to a warhead (which the North Koreans tested in their nuclear test late last year... with an estimated 30 kiloton yield), it creates a credible "second-strike" capability that would allow the North Koreans to disperse and hide these nuclear-armed rockets ready for a counter-strike if ever attacked by the US.

In short, this rocket system along with the nuclear warheads they have developed create, for the first time, a nuclear capability that is actually a credible weapons system (in the past they could create a nuclear device, but it was too large to actually place on a rocket, or they could build it small enough to put on a rocket but the yield was too small, and the liquid-fueled rockets too vulnerable). They've finally managed to develop all the different pieces (the rocket, the warhead, the basing scheme) to create a real and effective nuclear weapons system. We should indeed be concerned about the risk to our allies, the South Koreans and the Japanese, and to US forces in the Western pacific. See below a video of the launch; you can see the mobile TEL system and how handy and compact the rocket itself is. Launch part of the video starts around 25 seconds in. Particularly watch the close-up of the cold launch ejection system at around 39 seconds in.

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LennyBicknel
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(Original post by AlexanderHam)
The author of the article isn't particularly well-informed or knowledgeable about matters of rocketry, missiles and the like.

First, North Korea's long-range missile capability (ICBM-range that might be able to hit the United States) is, it's true, not particularly threatening. But that's not why the Western allies are concerned. The concern is about the threat to South Korea, Japan and to US installations at places like Guam, Atsugi Air Base and the like.

Second, the reason this recent test is particularly noteworthy is because they were testing a new (for them) technology called solid-fuel rocketry. The North Koreans have, in the past, used "liquid-fueled" rockets; these are rockets where you have to fill the rocket up with the rocket fuel before launching it. You can't just fill up a liquid-fueled rocket and leave it on the launchpad for years as the fuels are often quite volatile. The need to fuel the rocket before launch makes them quite unwieldy, and extremely vulnerable to counterstrike during the fueling process.

By contrast, solid-fuel rockets have an almost gunpowder-like substance in them. You can build a solid-fuel rocket and keep it ready for years on end, just waiting to launch. You don't need to fuel them; you simply build them. They're much more mobile so you can build a TEL (transporter-erector-launcher) vehicle that carries the rocket on its back to the launch site, then pushes the rocket with its nose in the air, then ejects the rocket into the air for a few seconds (called cold launch) and then the rocket engine starts when it's up in the air rather than still on the ground (which means the launch doesn't destroy the TEL vehicle). The mobility of these launch systems, along with their long "shelf-life", means in a wartime situation, you can send the TELs out from base into forests or other areas, and continue moving them around, which makes them much less vulnerable to enemy airpower.

Third, the current rocket tested can be launched from both submarine and from land. With the TEL and submarine-launch system, North Korea has created a weapons system that could be hard for the US and South Koreans to track, and which can be launched at very short notice.

Fourth, this current rocket system that was tested has the heft to carry a nuclear warhead, which means that when the rocket is mated to a warhead (which the North Koreans tested in their nuclear test late last year... with an estimated 30 kiloton yield), it creates a credible "second-strike" capability that would allow the North Koreans to disperse and hide these nuclear-armed rockets ready for a counter-strike if ever attacked by the US.

In short, this rocket system along with the nuclear warheads they have developed create, for the first time, a nuclear capability that is actually a credible weapons system (in the past they could create a nuclear device, but it was too large to actually place on a rocket, or they could build it small enough to put on a rocket but the yield was too small, and the liquid-fueled rockets too vulnerable). They've finally managed to develop all the different pieces (the rocket, the warhead, the basing scheme) to create a real and effective nuclear weapons system. We should indeed be concerned about the risk to our allies, the South Koreans and the Japanese, and to US forces in the Western pacific. See below a video of the launch; you can see the mobile TEL system and how handy and compact the rocket itself is. Launch part of the video starts around 25 seconds in. Particularly watch the close-up of the cold launch ejection system at around 39 seconds in.

I don't think the article's questioning the technicalities and technological development of the nuclear development.. more its purpose, and consequently why it shouldn't be considered threatening.
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by LennyBicknel)
I don't think the article's questioning the technicalities and technological development of the nuclear development.. more its purpose, and consequently why it shouldn't be considered threatening.
The author doesn't really know what he's talking about. He doesn't understand the significance of these new solid-fueled rocket tests (including the NK's mastering of cold-launch ejection and developing a TEL to carry it as a mobile, land-based system).

If he did, he'd understand that the new solid-fueled Pukguksong-2 system, when mated to the nuclear warheads (and the minituarisation problem the NK's appear to have overcome) are one of the few North Korean weapons systems that genuinely are threatening, and that the Pukguksong-2, the development of the TEL, the mastering of cold launch, are what allow the North Koreans to create, for the first time, a genuine and credible nuclear deterrent. These are among the few systems the Americans and South Koreans could never be entirely sure about in a conflict situation.

It's true that the old systems like Rodong and Taepodong, the liquid-fueled, multi-stage systems the NKs spent decades developing, were not that threatening because their liquid-fueled nature meant that they were highly vulnerable to an airstrike while they were on the launchpad fueling (and were not particularly reliable anyway). But once they have mastered solid-fuel rockets (which are a great technological challenge), these systems are much more mobile, much more compact, much more reliable and overall a much greater threat; a qualitative leap of a kind we have not seen even with the ICBM-range Taepodong derivatives
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Tempest II
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The DPRK's missiles aren't a threat yet. But once they are able to fit a nuclear weapon onto a missile then that probably changes. At the current moment in time, North Korean artillery, which is has Seoul in its sights, is probably a bigger threat. Thousands of ROK civilians could be killed by DPRK artillery within hours of hostilities breaking out.
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by Tempest II)
The DPRK's missiles aren't a threat yet. But once they are able to fit a nuclear weapon onto a missile then that probably changes
The point is that the Pukguksong-2 missile which they tested this month really constituted the delivery part of creating a credible nuclear weapons system, mainly because it is solid-fueled.

In the past they developed liquid-fueled rockets, but because you have to fuel liquid-fueled rockets before launch, during that fueling process they are extremely vulnerable to counterstrike. It's a slow and laborious process. But solid-fueled rockets are simply built and then they can be sealed up for years, waiting for launch. No need to fuel; you've built the fuel into the rocket when it is manufactured.

Solid-fueled rockets are much sturdier and more mobile than liquid-fueled rockets so you can place them on a TEL vehicle and drive them out into the countryside, moving them around almost like a land-version of what we do with our SLBMs (moving them around under the ocean to keep them safe). So Pukguksong-2, being solid-fueled and the NK's having developed a TEL and mastered 'cold launch', really have mastered the delivery vehicle (at least the missile part) of a credible nuclear strike capability (and even a second-strike capability given solid-fueled rockets can be dispersed out into the countryside, do not need to be fueled for launch and can simply move around or sit tight waiting, for years, for the launch order).

On the question of the nuclear warhead, many observers believe the September 2016 test last year was where the North Koreans finally mastered a miniaturised warhead with sufficient yield (20 - 30 kilotons). Many people believe the 2006 and 2009 tests were essentially like the Trinity "Gadget" (basically a nuclear device on a test stand, not actually a warhead) but that the 2013 test was the first test of a warhead design. However, they were having trouble with "fizzles" (not getting a full yield). The Jan 2016 test was still a fairly small yield (7 to 10 kilotons) but that the September 2016 yield showed they had mastered a warhead design, probably a 'boosted' design by way of deteurium / tritium injection.

The long and short of it is that if they have mastered the physics package (the nuclear device) of sufficiently small size and low weight, and we know they have now mastered a mobile, reliable solid-fueled rocket design with TEL and cold launch, all they now need to do is design the warhead bus / re-entry vehicle in which they will place the physics package. I haven't seen any observer who claims they have done so, but if they have overcome the development of solid-fueled rockets and boosted fission nuclear devices, then it's certainly not outside their ken.

The solid-fueled Pukguksong-2, with the miniaturised physics package and eventual warhead bus or re-entry vehicle, provides them with something approximating an actual, credible nuclear capability. Now Pukguksong-2 probably only has a range in the 1,000km to 2,000km range. It's not an ICBM-range system. But that range provides them with coverage of all the targets that they might credibly want to hit (in South Korea and Japan). I'd say the Telegraph was right to call it a game-changer in terms of actual, credible nuclear capability in a way those rickety, multi-stage liquid-fueled Taepodongs and their "Gadget", test-stand style nuclear devices they possessed in the mid-2000s, never were.

LennyBicknel
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