North Korea says launch that caused West Coast and Hawaii airport lockdowns was caused by HYPERSONIC missile with ‘superior maneuverability’: FAA confirms it ordered ground stop as ‘precautionary measure’
North Korea has confirmed that its launch, which is believed to have caused full ground stops at all West Coast and Hawaii-based US airports for about 15 minutes no Monday, was a hypersonic missile.
Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the successful test of a hypersonic missile, and state media has confirmed the missile carrying a ‘hypersonic gliding vehicle’ hit ‘the set target’ 620miles away.
On Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed it had ordered a full ground stop at all West Coast airports on Monday.
While the FAA would not confirm the launch was behind its almost unprecedented move, the order came just moments after Pyongyang fired the missile at 2.27pm PST on Monday.
At around 2.30pm, Air traffic controllers at Burbank in California told pilots to land due to a ‘national security threat’.
At the same time, a Honolulu-based air traffic controller was heard, in publicly available audio recordings, telling a pilot: ‘We have something going on, we might have to scramble fighters shortly, just hold there.’
The stop only lasted for 15 minutes and also affected Hawaii.
Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches what the North Korean government says a test launch of a hypersonic missile on January 11, 2022 in North Korea
North Korea has confirmed that its launch, which is believed to have caused full ground stops at all West Coast and Hawaii-based US airports for about 15 minutes no Monday, was a hypersonic missile
Tuesday’s missile test, which came as the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss Pyongyang’s weapons program, sparked swift condemnation, with the State Department branding it a ‘threat… to the international community.’
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has vowed to work to denuclearize North Korea and criticized its ‘systemic and widespread’ human rights abuses during a visit to Seoul with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last March.
The United States is allied with South Korea and President Biden has said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in would work together to tackle the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The recent launches come after the US completed a huge $1.5billion long-range radar for a homeland missile defense system in Alaska last month, which it says can track ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic weapons from countries such as North Korea.
This was the third reported North Korean test of a hypersonic gliding missile. The first, which took place four months ago, was followed by one last week.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said the most recent test demonstrated ‘the superior maneuverability of the hypersonic glide vehicle’.
South Korea’s military, which had cast doubt on Pyongyang’s initial claims, said the missile launched on Tuesday had reached hypersonic speeds and showed clear signs of ‘progress’ from last week’s test.
Pictures in state media showed Kim using binoculars to observe the second missile launch by the nuclear-armed nation in less than a week.
Ground stops can be specific to airports or an entire region and are related to either weather, equipment outages or extreme events
The missile flew 435 miles at an altitude of about 37 miles at Mach 10 speed, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
Hypersonic missiles are listed among the ‘top priority’ tasks for strategic weapons development in North Korea’s five-year plan.
Yesterday, the FAA tweeted confirmation of the ground stop but didn’t go as far as naming the launch as the cause.
‘As a matter of precaution, the FAA temporarily paused departures at some airports along the West Coast on Monday night,’ they wrote. ‘Full operations resumed in less than 15 minutes. The FAA regularly takes precautionary measures. We are reviewing the process around this ground stop as we do after all such events.’
The FAA did not respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment as of Wednesday morning.
Under an FAA ground stop, flights scheduled to land at an airport are forced to stay at their departure points. Ground stops can be specific to airports or an entire region and are related to either weather, equipment outages or extreme events.
People watch a TV showing an image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, January 6
The Tuesday test, which came as the UN Security Council met in New York to discuss Pyongyang’s weapons programme, sparked swift condemnation, with the US State Department branding it a ‘threat… to the international community.’
Pictured: A graphic showing how hypersonic missiles are able to avoid radar detection for longer than Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by flying closer to the earth
Meanwhile, both the United States and South Korean militaries have launched investigations into the launch, while Guam’s office of homeland security said they were monitoring the launch but said there was no threat to the American territory in the south pacific.
Russia, the United States and China have all reported successfully testing hypersonic glide missiles. Russia is generally seen as the world leader in the technology.
Jong-un said prior to the launch at a key political gathering that he would boost the nation’s military might.
At a key meeting last month of North Korea’s ruling party, Kim vowed to continue building up the country’s defense capabilities, without mentioning the United States.
Kim had famously tried to make nice with ex-President Donald Trump in an attempt to ease sanctions in exchange for giving up nuclear power.
The Biden administration has said it was willing to meet Jong-un without preconditions but the dictator has said no to all talks that would come without an easing of US sanctions.
The impoverished nation has also been under a rigid self-imposed coronavirus blockade that has hammered its economy.