What is Hwasong-18?

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North Korea recently tested its latest Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

About Hwasong-18:


  • It is a type of solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) developed by North Korea.
  • It is North Korea's first ICBM to use solid-fuel, which allows for faster launches.


Solid Fuel vs Liquid Fuel Missiles:

  • Liquid propellants provide greater propulsive thrust and power, but require more complex technology and extra weight.
  • Solid fuel is dense and burns quite quickly, generating thrust over a short time
  • Solid fuel can remain in storage for an extended period without degrading or breaking down - a common issue with liquid fuel.
  • Solid-fuel missiles are easier and safer to operate, and require less logistical support, making them harder to detect and more survivable than liquid-fuel weapons.


What is a Ballistic Missile?

  • It is a rocket-propelled self-guided strategic-weapons system that follows a ballistic trajectory to deliver a payload from its launch site to a predetermined target.
  • Ballistic missiles are powered initially by a rocket or series of rockets in stages, but then follow an unpowered trajectory that arches upwards before descending to reach its intended target. 
  • Ballistic missiles can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads.


What is an ICBM?

  • An ICBM, is a long-range (greater than 5,500 km or 3,500 miles) ballistic missile typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery, that is, delivering one or more nuclear warheads.


Q1) What are Cruise Missiles?

Cruise missiles are unmanned vehicles that are propelled by jet engines, much like an airplane. They can be launched from ground, air, or sea platforms. Cruise missiles remain within the atmosphere for the duration of their flight and can fly as low as a few meters off the ground. Flying low to the surface of the earth expends more fuel but makes a cruise missile very difficult to detect.

Source: North Korea test launched Hwasong-18 ballistic missile: Report