Blast-off: 6 recent missile advances

Missiles have been prominent in the news with India’s successful test, North Korea’s failed one, and much talk of missile defense systems in Europe and the Persian Gulf. Here are six recent noteworthy missile-technology advances.

2. North Korea’s Unha-3

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    In this April 8 photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea.
    David Guttenfelder/AP
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Less than a week before the Indian missile test, North Korea unsuccessfully tested one of its own rockets, the Unha-3, in an attempted show of strength as new leader Kim Jong-un secures his throne. Foreign observers believe the rocket was a long-range missile, though Pyongyang claimed it was a vehicle for a communications satellite. The rocket crashed into the Yellow Sea soon after launch.

The test was condemned even before the launch by most of the major Western governments as well as Russia.  Although the test’s failure means that North Korea remains far from being a threat beyond its immediate region, it has set back the already tepid diplomatic negotiations between North Korea and the US. The Obama administration withdrew its offer of food aid to the North in exchange for a rollback of its nuclear program.

Experts believe that Mr. Kim may stage a nuclear test in the coming months to offset the perceived loss of face from the failed missile test.

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