15.5 C
New York
Sunday, September 24, 2023

Explainer-What’s solid-fuel know-how, and why is North Korea desirous to develop it? By Reuters

© Reuters. A view of a take a look at launch of a brand new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Hwasong-18 at an undisclosed location on this nonetheless picture of a photograph utilized in a video launched by North Korea’s Korean Central Information Company (KCNA) April 14, 2023. KCNA

By Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea says it has examined a brand new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), its first recognized use of the propellant in a longer-range projectile, because it seeks the potential to launch with little preparation.

Listed here are some traits of solid-fuel know-how, and the way it will help the North enhance its missile programs.


Stable propellants are a combination of gas and oxidiser. Metallic powders comparable to aluminium typically function the gas, and ammonium perchlorate, which is the salt of perchloric acid and ammonia, is the commonest oxidiser.

The gas and oxidiser are certain collectively by a tough rubbery materials and packed right into a metallic casing.

When strong propellant burns, oxygen from the ammonium perchlorate combines with aluminium to generate huge quantities of power and temperatures of greater than 5,000 levels Fahrenheit (2,760 levels Celsius), creating thrust and lifting the missile from the launch pad.


Stable gas dates again to fireworks developed by the Chinese language centuries in the past, however made dramatic progress within the mid-Twentieth century, when the U.S. developed extra highly effective propellants.

The Soviet Union fielded its first solid-fuel ICBM, the RT-2, within the early Seventies, adopted by France’s improvement of its S3, also called SSBS, a medium-range ballistic missile.

China began testing solid-fuel ICBMs within the late Nineties.

South Korea stated on Friday it had already secured “environment friendly and superior” solid-propellant ballistic missile know-how.


Liquid propellants present larger propulsive thrust and energy, however require extra advanced know-how and further weight.

Stable gas is dense and burns fairly shortly, producing thrust over a short while. Stable gas can stay in storage for an prolonged interval with out degrading or breaking down – a typical subject with liquid gas.

Vann Van Diepen, a former U.S. authorities weapons skilled who now works with the 38 North undertaking, stated solid-fuel missiles are simpler and safer to function, and require much less logistical help, making them more durable to detect and extra survivable than liquid-fuel weapons.

Ankit Panda, a senior fellow on the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, stated any nation that operates massive scale, missile-based nuclear forces would search solid-propellant missiles, which don’t should be fuelled instantly forward of launch.

“These capabilities are way more responsive in a time of disaster,” Panda stated.


North Korea stated the event of its new solid-fuel ICBM, the Hwasong-18, would “radically promote” its nuclear counterattack functionality.

South Korea’s defence ministry sought to downplay the testing, saying the North would want “additional effort and time” to grasp the know-how.

Panda stated the North might face difficulties making certain such a big missile doesn’t break aside when the diameter of the booster turns into bigger.

Though the Hwasong-18 won’t be a “sport changer”, he stated, it’s going to probably complicate the calculations of america and its allies throughout a battle.

“A very powerful curiosity america and its allies have is to cut back the dangers of nuclear use and escalation stemming from North Korea’s possession of those weapons,” Panda stated.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles