List of North Korean missile tests

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There have been a number of North Korean missile tests. North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan, in what have been interpreted as political gestures.[1][2][3][4]

As of 20 March 2020, North Korea has carried out 147 tests of strategic missiles since its first such test in 1984.[5] 15 were carried out under the rule of Kim Il-sung and 16 under Kim Jong-il.[6] Under Kim Jong-un, 119 tests have been undertaken as of December, 2019.[7] It has been 2 years, 8 months since North Korea's last ICBM test.

Timeline[edit]

Date Information
1976–81 North Korea commences its missile development program using Scud-B from the Soviet Union and a launchpad from Egypt.[8]
1984 First Scud-B missile test firing.[8]
1988 Operational deployment of Scud-B and Scud-C missiles.[8]
1990 First Rodong missile test.[8]
1993 1993 North Korean missile test – (May 29/30, 1993) – Nodong
1998 North Korea fires off its first ballistic missile, the Unha-1 rocket, also known as the Taepodong-1 missile, from the launch site of Musudan-ri in North Hamgyong Province.[9]
1999 North Korea agrees to a moratorium on long-range missile tests.[10]
2002 North Korea pledges to extend moratorium on missile tests beyond 2003.
2004 North Korea reaffirms moratorium.[11]
2005 North Korea fires short-range missile into Sea of Japan.[12]
July 5, 2006 2006 North Korean missile testTaepodong-2 failed [9]
April 5, 2009 Failed orbit of the Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite aboard an Unha-2 carrier rocket
July 4, 2009 2009 North Korean missile test
April 13, 2012 Failed launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 satellite aboard an Unha-3 carrier rocket
December 12, 2012 Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3 Unit 2 satellite aboard a three-stage rocket [9]
May 18–20, 2013 2013 North Korean missile tests (part of 2013 Korean crisis)
March 2014 2014 North Korean missile tests including Nodong, success[13]
May 9, 2015 North Korea claims to launch a missile from a submarine [14][9]
February 7, 2016 Successful launch of the Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4 satellite
April 9, 2016 Test of engine designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile [15]
August 24, 2016 North Korea claims to launch a Pukkuksong-1[16] missile capable of striking the United States.[17] The missile is a Submarine-launched ballistic missile.[17]
October 15, 2016 Failed North Korean ballistic missile launch – [18]
October 19, 2016 Failed launch of an intermediate-range missile [19]
February 11, 2017 North Korea test-fired a Pukkuksong-2 missile over the Sea of Japan. This was the first launch of the new medium-range ballistic missile .[20][21][9]
March 6, 2017 North Korea launches four ballistic missiles from the Tongchang-ri launch site in the northwest.[22] Some flew 620 mi (1,000 km) before falling into the east sea.[23][9]
April 4, 2017 North Korea test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile from its eastern port of Sinpo into the Sea of Japan[24][25][9]
April 15, 2017 North Korea test-fired an unidentified land-based missile from the naval base in Sinpo but it exploded almost immediately after the takeoff .[26][27][28][29]
April 28, 2017 North Korea test-fired an unidentified missile from Pukchang airfield.[30][31] The missile, believed to be a medium-range[32] KN-17 ballistic missile,[30] faltered and broke apart minutes after liftoff.[32][33][34]
May 13, 2017 North Korea test-fired a Hwasong-12[35] missile from a test site in the area of Kusong.[36] The missile, later revealed to be an intermediate range ballistic missile,[37] traveled 30 minutes,[38] reached an altitude of more than 2,111.5 km, and flew a horizontal distance of 789 km (489 miles), before falling into the Sea of Japan.[37] Such a missile would have a range of at least 4,000, reaching Guam, to 6,000 km.[36][35]
May 21, 2017 North Korea test-fired another Pukkuksong-2 medium-range ballistic missile from Pukchang airfield,[39][40] which traveled approximately 500 km (300 miles) before falling into the Sea of Japan.[41] The missile landed about 350 km (217 miles) from North Korea's east coast.[41]
May 29, 2017 North Korea fired a Short Range Ballistic Missile into the Sea of Japan. It traveled 450 km.[42]
June 8, 2017 North Korea fired several missiles into the Sea of Japan. They are believed to be anti-ship missiles.[43] The South Korean military said the launches show the reclusive regime's "precise targeting capability."
June 23, 2017 North Korea tested a new rocket engine that could possibly be fitted to an intercontinental ballistic missile.[44]
July 4, 2017 North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) named Hwasong-14 on July 4.[45][46] It launched from the Panghyon Aircraft Factory 8 km southeast of Panghyon Airport.[47] It was aimed straight up at a lofted trajectory and reached more than 2,500 km into space.[48] It landed 37 minutes later,[49] more than 930 km from its launch site,[50] into Japan's exclusive economic zone.[51] Aiming long, the missile would have traveled 7,000–8,000 km or more, reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and possibly Seattle.[49][52][53][54][55] Its operational range would be farther, bringing a 500 kg payload to targets in most of the contiguous United States 9,700 km away.[56][57][58]
July 28, 2017 The 14th missile test carried out by North Korea in 2017 was another ICBM launched at 23:41 North Korea time (15:41 GMT) from Chagang Province in the north of the country on July 28, 2017. Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Boston, and New York City appear to be within range.[59] The missile's reentry vehicle (RV) was seen by people in Japan as it entered the atmosphere and landed near the northernmost Japanese island, Hokkaido.[60][61] Analysis later revealed that the RV broke up on re-entry; further testing would be required.[62] The CIA made an assessment expecting adequate performance of the RV under the different stresses of a shallower trajectory towards the continental US.[63]
August 26, 2017 North Korea test-fired three short-range ballistic missiles from the Kangwon Province on August 26. Two travel approximately 250 kilometers in a northeastern direction and one explodes immediately after launch.[64]
August 29, 2017 On August 29, 2017, at 6 AM local time, North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Northern Japan.[65] The missile's short and low trajectory and its breakup into three pieces is consistent with the failure of a heavy post-boost vehicle.[66]
September 15, 2017 North Korea launched a ballistic missile on September 15 from Sunan airfield. It reached a height of 770 km and flew a distance of 3,700 km for 17 minutes over Hokkaido before landing in the Pacific.[67]
November 28, 2017 North Korea launched an ICBM from the vicinity of Pyongsong at 1:30pm EST/3:00am Pyongyang time. The rocket traveled for 50 minutes and reached 2800 miles (4,500 km) in height, both of which were new milestones. The missile flew 600 miles (1,000 km) east into the Sea of Japan; unlike summer launches, the Japanese government did not issue cellphone alerts to warn its citizens. North Korea called it a Hwasong-15 missile. Its potential range appears to be more than 8,000 miles (13,000 km), able to reach Washington and the rest of the continental United States.[68][69] Much about the missile is unknown. The missile might have been fitted with a mock warhead to increase its range, in which case the maximum missile range while carrying a heavy warhead might be shorter than 13,000 km. Based on satellite imagery, some experts believe that North Korea may now be able to fuel missiles horizontally, shortening the delay between when a missile becomes visible to when it can be launched.[68] The rocket is believed to have broken up on re-entry into the atmosphere.[70]
May 4, 2019 North Korea launched several short-range projectiles from the vicinity of Wonsan on the country's east coast,[71] one possibly a Russian Iskander missile which can make course corrections during its flight.[72]
May 9, 2019 North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles[72] from the vicinity of Sinori in North Pyongan Province (launch area also, in another source, identified as Kusong[72]) at 4:29 p.m. and 4:49 p.m. local time.[73]
July 25, 2019 North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles, believed to be of a new design.[74]
July 31, 2019 North Korea launched "several" short-range ballistic missiles.[75]
August 2, 2019 North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles at 2:59 a.m. and 3:23 a.m. local time.[76]
August 24, 2019 North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles from Sondok in South Hamgyong Province. Both fell in the Sea of Japan.[77]
September 10, 2019 North Korea launched two short-range projectiles from Kaechon shortly after proposing to resume denuclearization negotiations with the US. Both the projectiles fell into the sea off the North's east coast.[78]
October 2, 2019 North Korea test-fired a new-type submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the waters off Wonsan. The Republic of Korea Armed Forces said the missile, which was dubbed Pukguksong-3, flew about 450 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of 910 kilometers, making it an intermediate-range ballistic missile. It fell into the exclusive economic zone of Japan off Shimane Prefecture. North Korea said the launch was successful.[79][80]
October 31, 2019 North Korea test-fired two short-range projectiles from Sunchon at 4:35 p.m. and 4:38 p.m. Both flew around 370 km and reached a maximum altitude of 90 km before falling in the Sea of Japan.[81]
November 28, 2019 North Korea test-launched two "short-range projectiles".[82] Rocket exhaust was visible from Russia [83]
March 2, 2020 North Korea carried out test-launch of two unidentified projectiles from eastwards over the sea from the Wonsan area on the east coast. Projectiles are equipped with an operational range of 240 kilometres, and capable to flew a height of 35 kilometres.[84]
Trajectories of North Korean missiles launched over Japan 1998-2017
Range and altitude of North Korean missiles launched over Japan
North Korean rockets flown over the Japanese archipelago
No. Date Model Area flown over Advance notice North Korean claim Satellite name
1 August 31, 1998 Taepodong-1 Akita No Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1
2 April 5, 2009 Unha-2 Akita, Iwate Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2
3 December 12, 2012 Unha-3 Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-3
4 February 7, 2016 Kwangmyŏngsŏng (Unha-3) Okinawa Yes Satellite launch Kwangmyŏngsŏng-4
5 August 29, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A
6 September 15, 2017 Hwasong-12 Hokkaido No Missile launch N/A

Events related to missile tests[edit]

2016[edit]

On February 7, 2016, roughly a month after an alleged hydrogen bomb test, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into low Earth orbit. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe had warned the North to not launch the rocket, and if it did and the rocket violated Japanese territory, it would be shot down. North Korea launched the rocket anyway, claiming the satellite was purely intended for peaceful, scientific purposes. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, and South Korea, have criticized the launch, and despite North Korean claims that the rocket was for peaceful purposes, it has been heavily criticized as an attempt to perform an ICBM test under the guise of a peaceful satellite launch. China also criticized the launch, however urged "the relevant parties" to "refrain from taking actions that may further escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula".[85]

While some North Korean pronouncements have been treated with skepticism and ridicule, analysts treated the unusual pace of North Korean rocket and nuclear testing in early 2016 quite seriously. Admiral Bill Gortney, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, told Congress in March 2016, "It's the prudent decision on my part to assume that [Kim Jong Un] has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM," suggesting a major shift from a few years earlier.[86]

North Korea appeared to launch a missile test from a submarine on April 23, 2016; while the missile only traveled 30 km, one U.S. analyst noted that "North Korea's sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious".[87] North Korea conducted multiple missile tests in 2016.[88]

2017[edit]

On August 29, 2017 United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the latest North Korea Ballistic Missile Launch and termed it as violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, as According to press reports, early Tuesday morning, the North Korea Ballistic Missile travelled some 2,700 kilometers, flying over Japan before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.[89]

On September 3, 2017, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb, also known as a hydrogen bomb (see 2017 North Korean nuclear test). Corresponding seismic activity similar to an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 was reported by the USGS making the blast around 10 times more powerful than previous detonations by the country.[90] Later the bomb yield was estimated to be 250 kilotons, based on further study of the seismic data.[91] The test was reported to be "a perfect success".[92]

2018[edit]

Indonesian authorities detained the North Korean's second-largest cargo ship, the Wise Honest, in April for having been photographed loading what appeared to be coal in North Korea. The ship's automatic identification system signal had been turned off since August 2017, trying to conceal its course. In July 2018 the U.S. Justice Department secured a sealed seizure warrant for the ship.[93]

2019[edit]

The U.S. seized the Wise Honest in Indonesia under its warrant in May and put it under tow to American Samoa. The Justice Department said it was the first time the United States had seized a North Korean cargo vessel for international sanctions violations. The sanctions are intended "ultimately [to] pressure North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program".[93]

Members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), including UK, France and Germany, condemned North Korea's recent missile launches. The nations urged Pyongyang to resume negotiations, citing the missile launches as violation of UNSC resolutions.[94]

On October 2, North Korea confirmed testing a new ballistic missile launched from a submarine, and called it a "significant achievement" towards dealing with external threats and boosting its military power.[95]

In December, Planet Labs released new satellite images of a factory unit where North Korea develops military equipment used in launching long-range missiles, indicating the construction of a new arrangement. The revelation has raised fear that North Korea might launch a rocket or missile to seek concessions in stagnant nuclear negotiations with the U.S.[96]

2020[edit]

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten, said on January 17 that North Korea is building new missiles, capabilities and weapons "As fast as anybody on the planet." He further stated that North Korea is learning from its mistakes while making advances in its missile programs.[97] However, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood later told the House Armed Forces Committee on January 28 that North Korea did not go through with conducting a major missile launch which had been scheduled to take place sometime between late December and early January.[98]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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