North Korea demonstrated its ability to reach the continental US with a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on July 4, but close analysis of launch footage may point to another dangerous technological development.
Unlike other North Korean missiles, the intercontinental-range Hwasong-14 missile uses a “shroud,” or a hollow cover instead of a more solid nosecone, researchers have discovered.
ICBMs generally use shrouds if one is “planning on launching multiple reentry vehicles or added countermeasures,” David Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies told Business Insider.
Shrouds usually indicate that a missile has multiple, independent reentry vehicles for a payload, according to Schermler. A missile with multiple nuclear warheads can not only do more damage to its target, but also pose a greater challenge for missile defenses.
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Featured image courtesy of KCNA