Just 33 minutes. Yes, a missile from North Korea could reach US in approximately 33 minutes, a Chinese study found, as per a report in CNN. The report quoted Open Nuclear Network analyst Tianran Xu as saying that Chinese scientists carried out a simulation of a North Korean missile attack on the US.
Following this, the study found that the nuclear missile could strike mainland UD if missile defence systems failed to intercept it, in 33 minutes. Targets on the west coast and the east coast of the US would be within easy reach, the study showed.
The study used the hypothetical launch of North Korea’s Hwasong-15 missile which is a nuclear-capable missile with an effective range of 13,000 km, “sufficient to hit the entire US homeland”, the scientists said as per South China Morning Post.
The US missile defence headquarters would receive an alert about 20 seconds after the missile is launched and the first batch of intercepting missiles form US will take off within 11 minutes from Fort Greely in Alaska. Another wave of interceptors would be launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, if the first fail.
The study said that the existing US missile defence network had gaps that could be exploited. According to the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the system has been 55 percent effective and it “cannot be relied upon to protect the US from even an extremely limited attack”.
Frederick K Lamb, professor of Physics at the University of Illinois told CNN, “If North Korea were to fire a nuclear-armed ICBM at the United States, we cannot be sure that our missile defence system would prevent [it].”