A missile from North Korea could hit central US in approximately just 33 minutes, a study by China which pointed to potential gaps in the US’ satellite-aided system for tracking missiles has found.
The new report quoted Open Nuclear Network analyst Tianran Xu as saying that Chinese scientists carried out a simulation of a North Korean missile attack on the US.
The study found that the nuclear missile could strike mainland US within 1,997 seconds if missile defence systems failed to intercept it.
Targets on the west coast and the east coast of the US would be within easy reach, the study showed.
According to South China Morning Post, the study simulated the hypothetical launch of North Korea’s Hwasong-15 missile from the central North Korean city of Sunchon, towards Columbia, Missouri’.
The Hwasongpho-15 is a two-stage, likely nuclear-capable missile with an operational range of up to 8,000 miles. This is ‘sufficient to hit the entire US homeland,’ the study’s leader, Tang Yuyan said.
The US missile defence headquarters would receive an alert about 20 seconds after the missile is launched and the first batch of intercepting missiles from US will take off within 11 minutes from Fort Greely in Alaska.
Another wave of interceptors would be launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, if the first set fails.
The study said that the existing US missile defence network is only 55 percent effective and with gaps that could be exploited by adversaries, per the SCMP.
According to the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the US misile defence system has been 55 percent effective and it ‘cannot be relied upon to protect the US from even an extremely limited attack’.
The report, released mid-February, came ahead of a series of North Korean test-firings this week.