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Hwasong-16B Glide Vehicle

North Korea says it has successfully test-fired a new mid- to long-range hypersonic missile. The solid-fuel Hwasong-16B can be deployed more quickly than liquid-fuel variants.

Photo by Micha Brändli / Unsplash

North Korean authorities released imagery and videos of the Hwasong-16B along with an official release a day after the launch. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, attended the launch near Pyongyang; other senior officials were also present.

Hwasong-16B Glide VehicleHwasong-16B Glide Vehicle

The official North Korean statement says:

the missile reached its first peak at the height of 101.1 kilometers (just over 62.8 miles) and the second at 72.3 kilometers (close to 45 miles) while making a 1,000-km-long flight (just over 621 miles) as scheduled to accurately hit the waters of the East Sea of Korea – also known as the Sea of Japan.

North Korea claims the Hwasong-16B test has two peak altitudes aligning with hypersonic boost-glide vehicles’ operation.

After release, the boost-glide vehicle travels to its target along a relatively shallow atmospheric flight path at hypersonic speeds, generally above Mach 5 (6,000km/h).

Kim reportedly oversaw a solid-fuel engine test on March 19 in preparation for this week’s launch.