A Chinese state newspaper featuring a front-page story on North Korea's military parade. North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile displayed during its October military parade has been simplified. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile, displayed during its October military parade, has been simplified and its deployment could be postponed to 2020.
John Schilling and other analysts wrote on 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to North Korean issues, the KN-08 ICBM that North Korea put on show has been shortened and simplified, with two rather than three stages.
A blunt warhead or reentry vehicle also has replaced the narrow triconic design capable of reducing concentrated heat loads, the analysts stated.
The changes have significantly improved the potential reliability of the ICBM, but according to Schilling, Jeffrey Lewis and David Schmerler, the missile's performance has not changed and "remains quite marginal for an ICBM."
The analysts added that while the previous model had a launch success rate of 30-40 percent, the new model's rates are higher and range between 50-60 percent.
"But it also means the missile will be much less accurate, and much slower at the end of its flight," the analysts wrote.
Another unidentified military expert has said the low success rate of North Korea's ICBM posed problems for Pyongyang, but the new design of the reentry vehicle shows that the technology has made progress, Yonhap reported.
Schilling and the other analysts wrote North Korea could have obtained the new structural technology from Ukrainian sources, and that with a lighter warhead, the new KN-08 would have a range of about 5,592 miles.
Correction: An earlier version of this article identified one of the analysts as John Lewis, and not Jeffrey Lewis.