Friday, July 07, 2006

A Little Perspective

Various Japanese media outlets are reporting that North Korea's failed Taepodong-2 missile was on a trajectory that would have carried it near Hawaii, had the missile completed its test flight.

At this point, a little perspective is in order. Given the missile's short flight duration, we can't say with any certainity where it was aimed. According to missile analysts I've spoken to, the TD-2 had apparent guidance and control problems from almost the moment it left the launch pad, meaning that it's flight trajectory was highly erratic, at best.. Radar tracking data from U.S. and Japanese naval vessels--cited in Japan media reports--should be taken with a large grain of salt, because the missile (in all likelihood) wasn't following its intended trajectory before it failed, roughly 45 seconds into flight.

Additionally, the azimuth assessment for the TD-2 was revised several times before the launch, based on the best available information. Early projection suggested the flight path might carry it toward Hawaii, but later estimates suggested an azimuth that would carry it further away from the islands.

From what I can judge, the Japanese media reports are speculative at best, and not necessarily supported by available information.

1 comment:

Epaminondas said...

Worse still, no?

"Korean Missile Crashes in Kanto, 4 killed 20 Injured, rice paddies contaminated by rocket"

"Korean Missile hits bullet train, 600 dead"

"Korean Missile whacks Osaka Castle"

you get the idea...

If they meant it to land 100 miles from Pearl Harbor, then they are too STUPID to be allowed these toys, and the South Korean need to get a quiet message. If the guidance was a mess we can never know ..but we can pass the message to both Koreas.

Sounds like we are going to need a small task force with Arleigh Burke's, and Aegis off the coast of NK, which probably means a CVN since it will take air to protect the anti missile ships.

If all this is not a saluatry lesson in the costs of not taking care early in the game (can anyone say Ahmadi-nejad?), then I don;t know what is.