South Korea Says North Korean Hypersonic Missile Test Failed

The South Korean military reported that the DPRK launched a rocket on Wednesday, which reportedly exploded in mid-air.

North Korea is believed to have test-fired a hypersonic missile on Wednesday, but the launch apparently ended in failure, the South Korean military has stated. The projectile traveled approximately 250km before exploding in mid-air.

Hypersonic weapons, capable of reaching speeds up to 25 times the speed of sound, are considered virtually impossible to intercept by modern air defenses. The US, Russia, China, and India currently possess hypersonic rockets in their arsenals. Numerous other nations are either developing these weapons or claiming to have tested them.

Yonhap News Agency cited South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff as stating that the missile was launched from the Pyongyang area around 5:30am local time. South Korean and US intelligence agencies are currently analyzing the nature of the missile, but an anonymous military source told Yonhap that the rocket fired by North Korea appears to have been hypersonic.

The apparent launch occurred shortly after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea pledged to implement “overwhelming and new” deterrence measures in response to the arrival of US aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in South Korea on Saturday. The warship is scheduled to participate in trilateral military exercises, which also involve Japan.

Pyongyang has repeatedly characterized similar maneuvers in the region as a threat to its national security.

Late last month, North Korea launched several short-range ballistic missiles in response to joint drills between the US and South Korea.

In April, the DPRK conducted what it described as a simulated nuclear counterattack against an adversary.

Earlier that month, Pyongyang fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile that reportedly had a hypersonic warhead.