North Korea successfully tests solid-fuel motor for ICBM development

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North Korea said Friday it has successfully test-fired a “high-thrust solid-fuel motor” with 140 tons of thrust, according to state media, as the country seeks to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of being launched with a shorter preparation time.

The test, conducted Thursday by the Academy of Defense Science at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, was the first of its kind in the country and leader Kim Jong Un guided the launch on the spot, official media reported.

Solid-fueled ballistic missiles can be made ready for launch more quickly than liquid-fueled missiles. Kim praised the academy for “having successfully solved another important problem in carrying out the five priority tasks” in the strategic weapon field under a five-year plan set out last year, the media reported.

The development of a solid-fuel ICBM is included in the five-year plan. While “offering warm encouragement” to scientists and technicians of the academy, Kim expressed expectations that “another new-type strategic weapon would be made in the shortest span of time,” the report said.

North Korea is believed to have deployed short-range ballistic missiles equipped with a solid-fuel engine.

As for longer-range missiles, including the “Hwasong-17” ICBM, which could potentially travel over 15,000 kilometers and reach the U.S. mainland, North Korea is thought to be concerned they could come under attack while liquid fuel is being injected to prepare for launch.




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