Some people are suggesting that the latest missile failure in North Korea might not have been a failure after all. They are suggesting that Kim Jjong-un was actually testing a nuclear bomb. Nuclear bombs are not made to explode upon hitting the ground. They are detonated while airborne which creates the mushroom cloud you see at detonation. South Korea is convinced this is what happened to the latest missile launch.
Saturday’s missile failure may have been a deliberate explosion, South Korean government officials told the Korea Times. “We don’t believe the mid-air explosion was an accident,” South Korean cable news channel YTN quoted government officials as saying, “It’s believed the explosion was a test to develop a nuclear weapon different from existing ones.” The theory is that the North may have been testing a nuclear warhead.
That North Korea launched the missile across its territory from the west coast was a little unusual, leading some to suspect that perhaps the North intentionally kept the weapon from splashing down in the sea where a U.S. Navy carrier strike group is stationed.
John Schilling, an analyst for 38 North, an independent research site offered this theory:
Schilling suggests that the test may have been a failure, but he suspects that North Korea may be experimenting with Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles (MaRV). While this could be applied to new anti-ship ballistic missiles, it could also be used to enhance weapons for strikes on logistics and command centers, such as the allied military bases in South Korea and Japan. It also might be employed to evade anti-missile systems, like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield that just came online in South Korea. Failures with MaRV technology would be expected early on given the complex nature of this type of rocketry.
There are still a lot of unknowns surrounding the North’s recent weapons test, but Pyongyang appears to be making progress and advancing its ballistic missile program.
It does suggest that North Korea could be more advanced in their ballistic missile program than some in the intelligence community acknowledges.