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North Korea conducts test-firing of new anti-air missile

North Korea conducted a launch of what appears to be the new Pon'gae-6 SAM system on 30 September. (KCNA)

North Korea's Academy of Defence Science (ADS) has test-fired what it claims to be a newly developed anti-air missile.

The test-firing was conducted on 30 September to confirm the “general combat functions” of the missile and its accompanying radar, launch system, and commanding vehicle, reads a report from the state-run North Korean news outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on 1 October.

Further information from the ADS in the report claims that the vertically launched missile features better range, accuracy, and speed given its “twin rudder control and double impulse flight engine”.

From an image released by KCNA, these descriptions likely refer to the missile's duel-thrust motor and controllable canards, wings, or fins, which provide better control over the missile's flight trajectory.

The KCNA image also suggests that the missile test-fired is the Pon'gae-6 surface-to-air missile system that was seen at a parade in October 2020, given similarities in the launch tubes set-up, and the 10-wheeled transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle. It is the first known test-firing of this system.

Besides validating the weapon's systems, the test-firing will also improve North Korea's ability to conduct research and development on different types of anti-air missiles, the KCNA report added, without providing any further details on the weapon's performance.

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