North Korea’s Hwasong 15 ICBM – A Threat to the US Mainland

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Authors: S. Chandrashekar, Rajaram Nagappa and N.Ramani

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To cite: S. Chandrashekar, Rajaram Nagappa and N.Ramani. North Korea’s Hwasong 15 ICBM – A Threat to the US Mainland, ISSSP Report No. 01-2018. Bangalore: International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, January 2018, available at http://isssp.in/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/The-Hwasong-15-–-A-Threat-to-the-US-Mainland.pdf.

With a nuclear warhead weighing between 500 to 600 Kg North Korea’s Hwasong 15 ICBM can reach a large part of the US west coast and several cities in the central part of the USA. it may not however be able to reach Chicago, New York or Washington DC. If the mass of the warhead reduces to 400 Kg both Chicago and New York come within the range of Hwasong 15. Further reductions in warhead mass to 300 Kg will bring the whole of the US mainland within range.

Demonstrated North Korean nuclear weapon and missile capabilities suggest that it can currently target significant parts of the continental USA. With some more testing, which seems imminent, these capabilities are bound to grow.

These developments are likely to have far reaching effects both in the Asia Pacific region as well as across the globe. Accepting the reality of a nuclearized Korean peninsula and moving forward to a more stable deterrence posture appears to be the logical course to pursue.

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About the Authors

S. Chandrashekar is JRD Tata Chair Professor in the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at chandrashekar.schandra@gmail.com

Rajaram Nagappa is a Programme Head, International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at r.nagappa@gmail.com

N. Ramani is Visiting Professor in the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS, Bangalore. He can be reached at narayan.ramani@gmail.com


 

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