Rocket program - everything is ambiguous
With the program the ICBM is also not easy. The small DPRK is not a giant RF, which is capable of launching practically at an intercontinental distance within its territory, and also in different directions. And not even China, which, within its territory, shoots at a range characteristic of MRBD. What does not prevent him from then calling his ICBM products without carrying out control launches to the maximum range in the Pacific Ocean, like the Russian Federation and the USA or France.
And the North Koreans have to launch rockets only at sea, and they often have to do it through the head of frightened, frightened Japanese - more, with long-range launches, simply nowhere (well, not to China or Russia). Moreover, the “assaults” of the Japanese on this topic are void from the point of view of law. Because everything that is above a hundred kilometers up is already space, but it’s common, and the Japanese have no right to shoot down anything, and there’s nothing for them to do yet.
But another problem with the DPRK missile program is that they have nothing to control the field of the fall of the “product” at a great distance from the coast, they do not have KIK ships (command-measuring complex), although there were reports that something similar was being built. Such ships have the USA, China, recently returned from modernization to the composition of the KTOF of the Russian Navy and our ship Marshal Krylov, and all three countries have full ships of intelligence — but the DPRK has nothing of the kind.
Therefore, Koreans shoot high-apogee trajectories, then recalculate them to normal, with the apogee several times lower, but much further. True, the conditions for the entry of a combat unit into the atmosphere during such a launch are different from normal, but here, too, can be counted and estimated. However, launches and sometimes along normal paths are also carried out, so the question is, how do they take data from the crash site?
Yes, the DPRK has made several successful launches of ICBMs along such trajectories. "Hwason-12" ("Mars-12" in translation), although it can not be considered a full-fledged ICBM, but with the launches "up" reached the range in terms of 6500-7000km, and with the launches "into the distance" 3700km, it is clear that the launch was not at maximum range. This ICBM has successfully flown 3 times, and allows you to reach Alaska and, probably, the Hawaiian Islands. "Hwason-14" - a much more solid 45-ton rocket, can already be considered an ICBM, and the range during two successful launches (there were 2), in terms of a normal trajectory, is of the order of 8400-9000km. And "Hwason-15", 70-ton ICBM, in its only launch reached a height of 4500km and at a range 1000km, which, when converted to a normal trajectory height, gives 13000km with a load that is assumed to be a ton, which allows you to cover the entire US territory. But can these systems be considered as real combat ICBMs? With a very big stretch, if only for Koreans.
The transport and installation unit installs the Hwason-15 MBR to the starting position, the process is almost complete, now the TUA will drive off from the launching pad.
Firstly, the number of launches is still extremely small in order to properly finish and “lick” the structure, even though using ready-made solutions of others, the systems are original. And even the fact that all launches of precisely two types of ICBMs were successful, so far have not confirmed their high reliability - there are too few of them. Secondly, these are liquid mobile ICBMs, and most likely there is no talk of any capsulation of tanks yet (just as there aren’t transport and launch containers, missiles are still on the launchers), which allows the missile to carry out missile duty for years and for decades. Yes, at least for months - and no, it seems, they are refueling shortly before launch, and they are being taken from an underground shelter to the launch site, probably these missiles can be stored in refueling for days, but hardly for weeks. That is, operational readiness for use and ease of use are absent. And if in the tunnel system dug by the Koreans, these ICBMs and the equipment necessary for their preparation for launch will survive even with nuclear strikes, I believe, then the outputs and prepared launch points will surely survive. Moreover, these missiles do not start from a self-propelled launcher, these vehicles that carry them are transport and installation units, and not launchers. They bring the rocket out of the tunnel and put it on the starting “chair”, the launch pad they bring with them. The installation time is also long, and the very process of exporting and installing our missile launchers to a position can only amuse (however, like the Chinese PGRK for now). Then the transport and installation unit leaves to the side and start-up is carried out. This is a very slow procedure. That is, as a weapon of the first strike, such a system can still work, but it is unlikely to be a retaliatory strike. There is no talk of a counter strike or counter strike, the Chinese are not even laying on it, you need to have an advanced ballistic missile system, advanced ASBN strategic nuclear forces, and a very high degree of readiness of ICBMs for use, they have none of this.
Need a pause for a new level
Conclusion - the “Mars-14” and “Mars-15” shown so far are only demonstrators of the capabilities of the DPRK, they say, if we want, we, the Americans, will get it, consider us. But in the DPRK, not fools control (they buy technologies for their ICBMs and SLBMs — we are talking about Ukraine and Yuzhmash, of course), and they understand that it is necessary to have other, real, ICBMs. Therefore, the parades there have already shown, probably, the layout of the new self-propelled launcher (SPU) of the mobile ground complex (PGRK). Outwardly, this system looks much more modern, like something like Temp-2С (ancestor of Poplar with a dot and Topol), both with solid-state ICBMs and with starting from TPK, and not with a metal starting stool.
True, with the number of chassis suitable for use under the SSU PGRK chassis of the northerners, they say, there are problems - there are not more than a dozen of them, but there are also various options. Here are the mine launchers of ICBMs, with all the talents of the Koreans in digging fortifications, tunnels and underground factories and warehouses, you should probably not wait. Indeed, the ultra-secure (and not designed for the first blow, as in the USA), the silo tanker ICBM is an extremely complex and extremely expensive construction. The North Koreans, probably, will be able to master how to build them - the Kiev junta can sell the necessary knowledge, for example. But there is hardly any money for it.
DPRK has solid-propellant rockets, in particular, the quite successful Pukgukson program - a solid-fuel SLBM, which also has a land-based modification as a ballistic missile system in a transport-launch container and self-propelled launcher on tank base. In two versions, about a dozen tests were carried out, of which 11 were successful, from a land base, an immersed platform and a submarine. The range of the system is estimated at 3000-3500km, but, obviously, the improvement of this line will not end there, because last year, during one of Kim Jong-un's visits to the missile industry, the third version of the SLBM was enlarged. They are also building a larger non-nuclear submarine in the DPRK, not from the only silo launcher, but from 3-6. But, obviously, new solid-fuel long-range missiles will have to wait a few more years. We should also expect further advancement with liquid rockets, because they come out better with the northerners and it is easier to achieve high range and power characteristics on the liquid propellant rocket engine. Decent solid fuels are generally a very complex and very high-tech thing, for example, the USSR has lagged behind the solid fuel engines for ICBMs and SLBMs almost all the way, and indeed the leading positions in this matter are occupied only in the Russian Federation. Therefore, it is worth waiting for the conversion of knowledge on encapsulated tanks received from Yuzhmash into real products. It also takes time.
Surprisingly, by the way, how is it that the DPRK did not notice any program in the field of long-range cruise missiles. Here is a completely modern anti-ship missile that looks like a complete copy of our Uran-U Kh-35U, they mastered and mass-produced and equip it with missile boats, coastal systems, and even small and very small submarines. But something like a worsened copy of the old X-55 - no. But these technologies from Ukraine leaked to all interested parties - in China there are, for example, and are commercially available and aviation a version created on the basis of the oldest version of the X-55, and its ground-based counterpart (not the best choice for a ground-based complex - aviation KR, but there is one). In Pakistan - and that is its own KR "Babur", however, it was allegedly created not on the USSR’s legacy plundered by Ukrainians, but on the basis of the Tomahawk KR that fell in Pakistan. And in Iran, the Sumar ground-based KR recently appeared, looking like a complete copy of the early X-55 - these missiles “leaked” there again from the “forked Nenki”. Moreover, the Iranians even dragged several of these Kyrgyz Republics into Yemen, and the Hussites already somehow tested them on the Saudi operative warriors. However, since the Iranians have this technology, then the North Koreans will have it, the interpenetration of technologies between Iran and the DPRK is well established.
Wide and free gesture
So, once threatening with all possible punishments and three AUGs (who quickly fled to different corners) Trump once again lied on his Twitter account, first mixing Kim Jong-un with various biological substances, and now claiming that he would be happy to hold a summit with him, then Kim needed a strong move ahead of this very summit. If he agreed to stop testing, at least temporarily, that nuclear, long-range missiles, but during the negotiations, this would have looked like a “discharge” of the position under US pressure, “the success of the sanctions policy” (which practically does not exist - despite the sanctions the DPRK has sustainable economic growth). And this Kim Jong-un can not afford. And to make a wide gesture independently and before negotiations is a strong, and most importantly, a free move. In addition, it is quite worthy of a "mature" nuclear power, and you can also agree to non-proliferation later. Of course, without abandoning the nuclear status of the DPRK. But Pyongyang’s Americans will definitely not agree to the exchange of their nuclear program for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by the B-61 tactical aerial bombs even to the DPRK even to the DPRK, and they can’t believe the Americans either they will take back the bombs.
And even the guarantees of the PRC will not help here - yes, the People’s Republic of China last year actually confirmed that they remain faithful to the 1954 Treaty. with the DPRK, and outlined the conditions when it is ready to "fit in" for Pyongyang. That is, in the case of aggression against North Korea to change the regime, also in the case of a nuclear attack on the DPRK, an attack that could cause a serious environmental catastrophe in the region, but not if the DPRK itself acts as an aggressor. But there will not be enough Chinese and even Russian guarantees for the exchange of nuclear weapons for them, as a guarantor of the country's existence. In the rhetoric of the DPRK, it sounds exactly the rhetoric of a nuclear power.
Moreover, if the negotiations break down once again, or the agreements reached are torpedoed, say, by the Senate or the White House itself, or Pyongyang does not like something - the DPRK can always return to its usual activities. Well, will be in stories another failed "moratorium" on the tests - one more, one less, and no difference.
In the United States, however, as Washington Post reports, in Trump's entourage, “without enthusiasm” took Kim Jong-un’s statement that his country would stop testing nuclear weapons. According to them, Kim Jong-un "creates the appearance of the fact that he is a reasonable politician and is ready for a compromise."
Thus, the DPRK is supposed to “trap the United States” in the White House. According to Trump's advisors, he expects Washington to meet its demands in exchange for this concession during the meeting of the leaders of the two countries scheduled for May-June. However, we already know what Trump’s advisors are and what “good” they are ready to advise him. So the probability is high that we are waiting for the next “powerful summit”, as with China, when Trump exuded confidence that the Chinese were almost in his pocket, but in reality he had a fig in his pocket and the Chinese were over him subtlely mocked. But it will be interesting. If it will be...