North Korea conducted yet another ballistic missile test on Sunday, this time of a medium-range platform that crashed into the sea east of the reclusive state.
The Pukguksong-2 was first tested in February, but this most recent launch came from a mobile launch platform. Unlike stationary launch sites, mobile missile launchers can be hidden from satellite or high-altitude aircraft surveillance, and can be very difficult to locate and destroy if war were to break out between North Korea and the United States.
Also setting the Pukguksong-2 apart from other North Korean missile tests is its fuel system. Sunday’s missile utilizes a solid fuel rather than liquid, which gives it a strategic advantage over other missile designs. A liquid-fueled ballistic missile requires fueling before launch, offering an opportunity to mount a response to the threat of impending attack, whereas solid fuel rockets can have the fuel on board the missile as it’s transported. This offers the Pukguksong-2 the ability to launch quickly from a concealed position and limits the amount of time an enemy force (such as the U.S.), has to detect the impending strike.
As a result of Sunday’s successful test, North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un, declared the missile approved for deployment and ordered mass production of the platform to commence.