The Hwasong-17, North Korea’s most recently known intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), has recently made headlines after landing near Japan. While the nuclear weapon is being developed, one might wonder if it can truly bypass the United States’ venerable ballistic missile defense system, which has served the country for decades.

Will the US be able to deter North Korea’s massive ballistic missile?

‘Monster’ ICBM of the DPRK

DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Sensationalized as the ‘monster’ ICBM of North Korea by the media, the Hwasong-17 is a two-stage, liquid-fuelled, road-mobile ballistic missile operating at the back of a 22-wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle. The massive rocket was unveiled during the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea parade and had been conducting tests since. According to reports, unlike its predecessor, the Hwasong-17 is speculated to carry multiple warheads and decoys that would confuse and possibly evade missile defenses.

North Korea’s state media reported that the Hwasong-17 ICBM successfully “flew nearly 1,000 km (621 miles) for about 69 minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 6,041 km.” The ballistic missile has an estimated diameter of approximately 2.5 meters and a mass of around 80,000 to 10,000 kg when fully fueled.