Tuesday, December 5, 2017

North Korea and Future Thermonuclear Weapons Developments

North Korea and Future Thermonuclear Developments
Copyright 2017 by Michael H. Maggelet

  While North Korea has possessed nuclear weapons since 2006, their development of a medium yield (125-250 kiloton) two stage thermonuclear warhead shouldn’t come as a surprise if we examine the test data.

  Test data figures are approximate, but the DPRK has been steadily increasing warhead yields since their first test on 9 October 2006-


Date                                   Yield Estimates
  9 Oct 2006                              500 tons  (1/2 kiloton)

25 May 2009                          2-9 kilotons
12 Feb 2013                           6-16 Kt
6 Jan 2016                              7-16.5 Kt
9 Sep 2016                            15-25 Kt
3 Sep 2017                            70-250 Kt
Comment- released photos and video show a two stage thermonuclear device.

North Korean technician connecting cable to firing unit of thermonuclear test device.
The "notches" at the bottom of the screencap are DPRK audience members.

  In fact, the DPRK may have been designing a low yield primary intended for use in a thermonuclear weapon, while fielding an emergency capability solid capsule IFI weapon (or a single stage “sloika”, or layer cake with thermonuclear fuel). If and when sampling from reconnaissance aircraft is declassified/released, the radioactive debris will show what materials were used in the weapon. Additionally, low yield nuclear warheads are preferable for battlefield use, and it is not beyond the DPRK’s capability to field enhanced radiation weapons.

  Photographic evidence of North Korea’s nuclear warheads show commonality with US, Soviet, and UK fission warheads of the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s. The photographs of their warheads, and a short video showing preparation of a thermonuclear test device from October 2017, shows that the DPRK has the capability to produce a deliverable weapon in the form of an aircraft bomb, short range rocket warhead, or strategic missile warhead (we can also add eventual development of ground launched cruise missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, and multiple reentry vehicles).

  Thus, it’s not beyond the technological capacity of North Korean weapon scientists to miniaturize their warheads, and within five years deploy solid fuel ICBM’s and SLBM’s, long range cruise missiles, and strategic warheads in the high kiloton to megaton range as a deterrent against perceived threats from the US, Australia, Japan, and other nations. 
  In my opinion, DPRK nuclear tests in the near future may well be within the 500 kiloton to megaton range. While I can’t elaborate on how this is achieved, it’s obvious that North Korean scientists and weapon engineers have had some help from their “internationalist comrades” in producing a thermonuclear warhead. 

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