North Korea Tests ‘Autonomous Navigation System’ for Ballistic Missiles

Sat May 18 2024
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PYONGYANG: North Korea has conducted a test of a new “autonomous navigation system” designed for the firing of ballistic missiles, state media reported on Saturday, marking a significant technological stride in the nation’s missile capabilities.

Meanwhile, South Korea stated that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile towards the East Sea a day prior. According to Pyongyang-based KCNA, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the test fire.

“The accuracy and reliability of the autonomous navigation system were verified through the test fire,” KCNA reported. While specific details regarding the test, such as the number of missiles fired, were not disclosed, the successful demonstration of the new technology underscores North Korea’s ongoing efforts to enhance its military capabilities.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) further elaborated on the significance of the test, emphasizing the successful validation of the new autonomous navigation system’s accuracy and reliability. The South Korean military confirmed the launch, identifying it as a series of short-range ballistic missiles fired from Wonsan, a city on North Korea’s eastern coast. The missiles reportedly traveled approximately 300 kilometers before landing in the East Sea.

This latest test represents a notable advancement in North Korea’s missile technology, surpassing previous estimations of the range of its tactical guided weapons. Analysts believe that the extended flight distance of the missiles, now capable of targeting significant military facilities in South Korea.

The test comes amidst heightened tensions in the region, with North Korea increasingly showcasing its military prowess in response to perceived threats from the United States and South Korea. Recent joint military drills conducted by the US and South Korea have drawn criticism from Pyongyang, with accusations of inciting war fever.

North Korea’s recent flurry of military activities, including the launch of cruise missiles, tactical rockets, and hypersonic weapons, underscores its commitment to bolstering its defense capabilities. The development and testing of advanced missile systems, such as the newly tested autonomous navigation system, reaffirm North Korea’s strategic posture and readiness to defend against external threats.

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