The launch was likely conducted from the Hodo Peninsula, in South Hamgyong Province, near the eastern port city of Wonsan. South Korean government sources revealed Thursday that one or two Musudan missiles were deployed to that location. The site is often used to conduct weapon tests and military drills.
The Musudan missile, also known as the BM-25, is a previously untested medium- or intermediate-range ballistic missile developed and built by North Korea. It has an estimated range of 2,500-4,000 kilometers and an estimated payload capacity of 1,000-1,250 kilograms. The missile’s estimated range would put Guam, the Philippines, and most of China and Southeast Asia within range of a missile strike – nuclear or otherwise. The missile appears to be based on the Soviet-made R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The launch was timed to occur on the birthday of North Korean national founder Kim Il Sung – also the grandfather of current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Kim’s birthday, April 15, is known in North Korea as the Day of the Sun and is a major national holiday. This year marks the 104th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth. North Korea often marks this and other holidays with military events such as parades, drills and tests.
Featured image: Musudan (BM-25) on parade in Pyongyang, October 10, 2015 | Photo: KCTV
Update 1:14 AM UTC: According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile was launched at 5:30 AM Korea time (5:00 AM Pyongyang time).North Korea test launched a ballistic missile off the country’s east coast Friday morning, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the South Korean military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.North Korea conducted a test launch of a medium-range
About the Author
John G. Grisafi
John G. Grisafi is an analyst and Korean linguist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having previously worked as an analyst for the United States Army in South Korea and studied Korean at the Defense Language Institute, he is now majoring in East Asian Languages & Civilization and History at the University of Pennsylvania.