Truth be told, there is a lot of conflicting information out there concerning North Korea’s actual Nuclear Strike capability against the United States.
Let us not turn our attention to the mainstream medias bullshit. We should instead look to 38 North, a website dedicated to the study of North Korea by the US-Korea Institute at John Hopskins SAIS.
In a recent report by John Schilling, an aerospace engineer with over 20 years of experience in his field, titled “What is True and Not True About North Korea’s Hwasong-14 ICBM: A Technical Evaluation”, he breaks down the actual threat posed by this weapons platform.
“After the frenzy of technical speculation over the successful launch of North Korea’s Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the dust seems to be clearing and the emerging reality is that the North has an unreliable missile that can reach Alaska or Hawaii with a single nuclear warhead, and would be lucky to hit even a city-sized target. However, with a year or two of additional testing and development, it will likely become a missile that can reliably deliver a single nuclear warhead to targets along the US west coast, possibly with enough accuracy to destroy soft military targets like naval bases. In perhaps five years, North Korea may be able to incorporate a modest suite of decoys and penetration aids to challenge US missile defenses. Let’s hope US missile defenses are up to that challenge.”
Which in plain terms means that currently, North Korea has the capability to strike a number of our allies and our assets in the region. Even in its current stage of development, this missile could potentially strike a number of military installations and population centers across South Korea and Japan.
Whether or not that kind of strike would be successful is questionable. With the extensive missile defense capabilities of the United States currently deployed in the theater consisting of the THAAD Missile Defense Shield in both South Korea and Alaska, and the rather hefty supply of Patriot Anti Missile systems and AEGIS cruisers, I highly doubt any North Korean strike wouldn’t be intercepted.
“Contrary to the assertions of some analysts that the missile is currently capable of carrying several warheads, not just one, it may eventually be able to carry a modest suite of decoys or penetration aids, though probably not for several years. A multiple warhead capability, while theoretically possible, would require a very lightweight warhead, which will require a lot more nuclear testing and is probably a decade in the future at best.”
It makes me wonder if North Korea is crazy enough to put these missiles into production, giving themselves the ability to launch an armed Hwasong-14 alongside several conventional warheads to create a wave of decoys, in hopes that the nuclear payload is able to make it through any missile defense systems in the area and to its intended target most likely inside South Korea or Japan. This is most likely why both countries are currently running evacuation drills of potential target areas.
In conclusion, our allies and forces neighboring North Korea are all within their current Nuclear Strike range, the Hwasong-14 could delivery both nuclear and conventional payloads of varying sizes onto South Korean and Japanese targets. North Korea would need to launch a barrage of decoy missiles alongside the actual Nuclear payload to effectively bypass American anti-missile shield, at current technical levels the Hwasong-14 can only carry one warhead per ICBM.
A strike by North Korea would most likely target US military targets inside South Korea or even Seoul itself. US forces in Japan and heavily populated civilian centers would also be high on the list of potential targets.
In 5 years North Korea will have the ability to strike the United States West Coast. By 2030 we could see Hwasong-14 missiles carrying multiple nuclear warheads.