|Type||Ballistic missile, Mobile IRBM|
|In service||Never launch tested|
|Used by||North Korea, possibly Iran|
|Warhead||Conventional, possibly nuclear|
|Warhead weight||1,000–1,250 kg (est.)|
|2,500–4,000 km (est.)|
The Musudan missile, also known under the names BM-25, Taepodong X, Nodong / Rodong-B and Mirim, is a mobile intermediate-range ballistic missile developed by North Korea. The Musudan was first revealed to the international community in a military parade on 10 October 2010 celebrating the Korean Worker's Party's 65th anniversary, although experts believe these were mock-ups of the missile. The Musudan resembles the shape of the Soviet Union's R-27 Zyb submarine-launched missile, but is slightly longer. As of 2012, there was no indication that the missile system had been launch tested, or was operational.
In the mid-1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea invited the Makeyev Design Bureau's ballistic missile designers and engineers to develop this missile, based on the R-27 Zyb.
It was decided that, as the Korean People's Army's MAZ-547A/MAZ-7916 Transporter erector launcher could carry 20 tonnes, and the R-27 Zyb was only 14.2 tonnes, the R-27 Zyb's fuel/oxidizer tank could be extended by approximately 2 metres. Additionally, the warhead was reduced from a three-warhead MIRV to a single warhead.
The actual rocket design is a liquid fuel rocket, generally believed to use a hypergolic combination of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) as fuel, and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) as oxidizer. Once the fuel/oxidizer combination are fed into the missile, it could maintain a 'ready to launch' condition for several days, or even weeks, like the R-27 SLBM, in moderate ambient temperatures. A fueled Musudan would not have the structural strength to be land transported, so would have to be fueled at the launch site.
It was originally believed that Musudan's rocket motors made up the second stage of the Taepodong-2, which North Korea unsuccessfully test fired in 2006. However analysis of the Unha-3 launch, believed to be based on the Taepodong-2, showed that the second stage did not use the same fuel as the R-27, and is probably based on Nodong rocket technology. There is a possibility that the Musudan likewise is using the Nodong's kerosene and corrosion inhibited red fuming nitric acid (IRFNA) propellants, reducing the missile's range by about half.
On April 6, 2013, two Musudan rockets were carried to a base near the eastern coast of North Korea and to be prepared for a likely launch. This could have been intended to be the first ever test of the rocket or a military drill. On May 7, 2013 it was reported that these two Musudan rockets were moved away from their coastal launch site, probably to a non-operational site.
Description and technical specifications
- Launch weight: about 20 tons (est.)
- Diameter: 1.5 m
- Total Length: 12 m
- Payload: 1,000–1,250 kg (est.)
- Warhead: single
- Maximum range: 2,500–4,000 km (est.)
- CEP: 1.3 km
- Launch platform: North Korean-produced TEL, resembling a stretched and modified MAZ-543
- North Korea: According to one source, more than 200; other source claims 12 deployed. 16 were seen at once during the October 10, 2010 Military Parade, although experts contacted by the Washington Post believed these were mock-ups of the missile.
- Iran: 19, according to a leaked, classified U.S. State Department cable, although Iran has never displayed the missiles causing some U.S. intelligence officials to doubt the missiles were transferred to Iran.
Section 25 of this leaked cable (written before the 10 October 2010 appearance of the missile) says:
Russia said that during its presentations in Moscow and its comments thus far during the current talks, the U.S. has discussed the BM-25 as an existing system. Russia questioned the basis for this assumption and asked for any facts the U.S. had to provide its existence such as launches, photos, etc. For Russia, the BM-25 is a mysterious missile. North Korea has not conducted any tests of this missile, but the U.S. has said that North Korea transferred 19 of these missiles to Iran. It is hard for Russia to follow the logic trail on this. Since Russia has not seen any evidence of this missile being developed or tested, it is hard for Russia to imagine that Iran would buy an untested system. Russia does not understand how a deal would be made for an untested missile. References to the missile's existence are more in the domain of political literature than technical fact. In short, for Russia, there is a question about the existence of this system.
- National missile defense, for U.S. counter-measures
- John Pomfret and Walter Pincus (1 December 2010). "Experts question North Korea-Iran missile link from WikiLeaks document release". Washington Post. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- Markus Schiller (2012). Characterizing the North Korean Nuclear Missile Threat (Report). RAND Corporation. ISBN 978-0-8330-7621-2. TR-1268-TSF. http://www.rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR1268.html. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
- "Facts about North Korea's Musudan missile". AFP (GlobalPost). 8 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013. "IHS Jane's puts the estimated range at anywhere between 2,500 and 4,000 kilometres ... potential payload size has been put at 1.0-1.25 tonnes."
- 2nd 3rd Right Side
- Markus Schiller, Robert H. Schmucker (31 May 2012). Explaining the Musudan (Report). Schmucker Technologie. http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com/files/2012/05/Explaining_the_Musudan_Schiller_Schmucker_v1.2.pdf. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
- Stewart, Phil (7 May 2013) North Korea moves missiles away from coastal launch site, say US officials The Independent, Retrieved 7 May 2013
- BBC News - How potent are North Korea's threats?
- http://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/missiles-10132010181348.html North’s Missiles Raise Concerns, Radio Free Asia, 13 October 2010
- North Korea Rolls Out Ballistic Missiles, Global Security Newswire, 13 October 2010
- William J. Broad; James Glanz; David E. Sanger (28 November 2010). "Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2010.