North Korea Test Shows Improving Speed for Missile Crews

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed “great satisfaction” over the latest test of a large multiple-rocket launcher, state media said on Friday, a launch that experts said showcased improving performance by the system and its crews, Reuters informed.

North Korea fired two short-range projectiles into the sea off its east coast on Thursday in a fourth test of its new “super-large multiple-rocket launcher”, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said told a briefing.

The latest test of the so-called KN-25 missile came as a Thanksgiving Day reminder to the United States of a year-end deadline Kim has set for Washington to show flexibility in their stalled denuclearization talks.

The series of tests since the KN-25 was first unveiled in August show the North Koreans steadily improving their ability to quickly fire multiple rockets from their mobile launch vehicles.

That capability makes it more likely that in case of a war, North Korean rocket crews could speedily deploy, fire and move before being targeted by South Korean or American forces, experts said.

“The faster it fires, the quicker it can (get) out of dodge before counter-fire arrives,” Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), said on Twitter.

By the end of October crews had narrowed that interval to three minutes, while on Thursday the gap between the two missiles was only about 30 seconds, Reuters adds.

“The volley test-fire aimed to finally examine the combat application of the super-large multiple-launch rocket system proved the military and technical superiority of the weapon system and its firm reliability,” KCNA said.

The new short-range missiles pose a direct threat to South Korea and U.S. forces stationed there, experts said. The missiles traveled up to 380 km (236 miles) and reached an altitude of 97 km, according to the JCS, putting nearly all of South Korea within range.

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