The size and likely engine configuration of the missile would allow it to carry a payload of several thousand pounds anywhere in the U.S., according to weapons experts who saw the new intercontinental ballistic missile Kim unveiled in a military parade on Saturday. Kim appears to have learned from the former Soviet Union that it’s more efficient to add warheads to a single system rather than to build more missiles and launchers, according to Ankit Panda, author of “Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea.”
“They can saturate the defenses by having more reentry vehicles than the U.S. can ever hope to defend against,” Panda, who’s also a Stanton senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Monday at a web seminar hosted by NK News. The missile was widely seen as the “new strategic weapon” Kim promised in a new year’s speech to unveil.
Panda estimated that the new missile, dubbed by weapons experts as the Hwasong-16, could hold as many as four warheads.