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North Korea’s Most Advanced Drones Reemerges Using Solid Fuel Ballistic Missile

via CRUX
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

North Korea recently tested a solid fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with an intriguing payload, potentially a hypersonic boost glide vehicle (BGV).

Images on Chinese social media platform Weibo showed North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un inspecting drones resembling U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper UAVs.

The drones, called Saetbyol-4 and Saetbyol-9, were unveiled in 2023. However, details about their capabilities remain unclear. (Trending: Two Names Emerge As Trump’s Possible 2024 Running Mate)

“Next to no details are available of the specifications of the Global Hawk-type drone or even the mission that it’s intended to perform. However, its close resemblance to the RQ-4 series clearly suggests a high-altitude flight profile. Depending on engine performance and other factors, it’s likely expected to fly over longer distances,” the report noted.

“The RQ-4A has an endurance of more than 30 hours and has an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission, carrying a variety of sensors including imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors.”

Images of the Saetbyol-9 “indicated a wingspan of around 65 feet. The MQ-9 has a wingspan of 66 feet. While the turboprop-powered MQ-9 is used for both ISR and attack missions, it’s notable that the North Korean Reaper-type drone was displayed with two different types of missiles carried on six pylons below its wings, including one weapon that looks very similar to the U.S.-made AGM-114 Hellfire. This popular air-to-ground missile is used by the MQ-9, among many others,” the report added.

“The test-fire was aimed at verifying the gliding and maneuvering characteristics of intermediate-range hypersonic maneuverable controlled warhead and the reliability of newly developed multi-stage high-thrust solid-fuel engines,” KCNA wrote.

“The test-fire never affected the security of any neighboring country and had nothing to do with the regional situation,” they added.

North Korea’s advancements in solid fuel missile technology, including the IRBM test, are significant, as these missiles are harder to preemptively strike and provide less warning time.

Additionally, the potential inclusion of a hypersonic BGV on the IRBM would be a major development, complicating defense against North Korean attacks.

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