BM25 Musudan

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Musudan (Hwasong-10) [1]
BM25 Musudan.jpg
Type Ballistic missile, Mobile IRBM
Service history
In service Successful test on 22 June 2016 [1]
Used by North Korea, possibly Iran
Production history
Manufacturer  North Korea
Specifications
Length 12m
Diameter 1.5m
Warhead Conventional, possibly nuclear
Warhead weight 1,000–1,250 kg (est.)[2]

Engine Liquid (same or derived from R-27 R-29)
Propellant storable liquid (also upper solid) , NTO N2O4 with UDMH (or Hydrazines , AK IRFNA , TG02 Samin Tonka with half the range)
Operational
range
2,500–4,000 km (est.)[2]
Guidance
system
Inertial
Launch
platform
MAZ-based vehicle
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 무수단
Hancha
Revised Romanization Musudan
McCune–Reischauer Musudan

The Musudan (Chosŏn'gŭl무수단; hancha舞水端) missile 무수단 미사일 , officially Rodong-B (Chosŏn'gŭl: 노동B; hancha: 勞動B), Hwasong-10 (Chosŏn'gŭl: 화성 10; hancha: 火星 10), also known by 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.[3][4] The Musudan resembles the shape of the Soviet Union's R-27 Zyb submarine-launched missile, but is slightly longer.[4]

Development[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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.[4] 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 safely land transported, so would have to be fueled at the launch site.[4]

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.[5] 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.[4] 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.[4][6]

List of Musudan tests[edit]

Attempt Date Location Pre-launch announcement / detection Outcome Additional Notes
- 6 April 2013 - 7 May 2013 Eastern Coast of North Korea On 6 April 2013, reports of 2 Musudan rockets were carried to a base near the eastern coast of North Korea was surfaced.[7] Not Tested The missiles were moved away from their coastal launch site on May 7, 2013.[8]
1 15 April 2016 5:30 a.m. Pyongyang Standard Time Wonsan Reports of the test is imminent surfaced on just a day before.[9] Failure Both US and South Korea "detected and tracked" the missile followed by the confirmation of launch failure. South Korea further claims the missile in this test deviated from a "normal" trajectory.[10]

North Korea kept silent on the test despite the day is the 104th anniversary of the birthday of Kim Il Sung.

2 28 April 2016 6:10am Pyongyang Standard Time North Eastern Coast None Failure Crashed a few seconds after liftoff. North Korea kept silent on the test.[11][12]
3 28 April 2016 6:56pm Pyongyang Standard Time Wonsan None Failure According to US sources, the missiles went an estimated 200 meters off the launchpad. North Korea kept silent on the test.[12]
4 31 May 2016 5:20 am Pyongyang Standard Time Wonsan None Failure Missile exploded on site. North Korea kept silent on the test.[13]
5 22 Jun 2016 5:58 am Pyongyang Standard Time Wonsan None Success (North Korea) / Failure (South Korea & US authorities) Missile crashed at 150 km away from the site. First successful Musudan missile test that safely launched from the launch site but still exploded in the midway.[14][15] North Korea did not respond until after the 6th launch which hails the twin missile test was a success.

Although initial reports suggested that this test was a failure due to a relative short distance and the missile did exploded in the mid air, at least one US missile expert suggested otherwise.

David Wright, a missile expert and co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program suggested that the North could have intentionally terminated its flight early to keep it from flying over Japan after launching it at a normal angle because the distance of flight at 150 km, corresponds roughly to burnout of the Musudan engines.[16]

6 22 Jun 2016 5:58 am Pyongyang Standard Time Wonsan None Success (North Korea) / Partial Success (South Korea & US) South Korea, US and Japan eventually confirmed that the missile reached an apogee of about 1,000 km and landed in Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) at about 400 km away from the launch site. South Korea originally skeptical of the test as success because the missile did not reach a minimum of 500 km to be considered as an IRBM.

However with the subsequent analysis, experts agreed that the about 1,000 km apogee is intended for the missile to fly at a steeper angle than would be ideal that could reach its maximum range of 3,500 km or more as a deliberate attempt to avoid Japanese airspace.[17]

North Korea have hailed the twin test in 22 Jun 2016 as a 'complete success'in the state-owned TV channel KCNA with mentioning the missile accurately landed in the targeted waters 400 km away after flying to the maximum altitude of 1,413. 6 km along the planned flight orbit. North Korea confirms this missile as "Hwasong-10" The extract is re-uploaded in Youtube.[1]

Kim Jong Un reiterate that "We have the sure capability to attack in an overall and practical way the Americans in the Pacific operation theatre.".[18]

However there are missile experts who are skeptical of Musudan being able to hit Guam with a 650 kg payload with the estimated range of 3,150 km. They have added that Musudan at this configuration will need to have their warhead reduced to below 500 kg in order to reach Guam, which is about slightly further than 3,400 km away from North Korea.[19]

Strategic Implications[edit]

According to the physics of ballistic missiles,[20] North Korea have successfully tested a missile that could reach an apogee of 1,000 km to 1,413.6 km meaning that Musudan as an intermediate-range ballistic missile can be modified as an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Currently, North Korea is also working on land based nuclear deterrents that are of Intercontinental range, such as KN-08, KN-14 (Upgraded version of KN-08). It is also working a sea-based nuclear deterrent, such as KN-11 SLBM.

North Korea is confirmed to have successfully launched a KN-11 missile in a full test flight in a lofted trajectory and expecting KN-11 to be operationally deployed as early as before 2017 by South Korea military source in 25 Aug 2016. [21]

Description and technical specifications[edit]

Estimated maximum range of some North Korean missiles [22]

Musudan[edit]

  • Launch weight: about 20 tons (est.)[4]
  • Diameter: 1.5 m[4]
  • Total Length: 12 m[4]
  • Payload: 1,000–1,250 kg (est.)[2]
  • Warhead: single
  • Maximum range: 2,500–4,000 km (est.)[2]
  • CEP: 1.3 km
  • Launch platform: North Korean-produced TEL, resembling a stretched and modified MAZ-543

Operators[edit]

Map with BM25 operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

  •  North Korea: According to one source, more than 200;[23] other source claims 12 deployed.[24] 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.[3]

Suspected operators[edit]

Section 25 of this leaked cable (written before the 10 October 2010 appearance of the missile)[26] 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.

Given that Iran did not publicly display this missile system, there might be a chance that such transfer from North Korea did not happen at all.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c KCTV (Kim Jong Un Guides Test-fire of Ballistic Rocket Hwasong-10) - Youtube, courtesy of KCNA
  2. ^ a b c d "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. 
  3. ^ a b c 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. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Markus Schiller (2012). Characterizing the North Korean Nuclear Missile Threat (Report). RAND Corporation. ISBN 978-0-8330-7621-2. TR-1268-TSF. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  5. ^ 2nd 3rd Right Side
  6. ^ Markus Schiller, Robert H. Schmucker (31 May 2012). Explaining the Musudan (PDF) (Report). Schmucker Technologie. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "White House: Would 'not be surprised' if N. Korea launches missile". Fox News. 5 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Stewart, Phil (7 May 2013) North Korea moves missiles away from coastal launch site, say US officials The Independent, Retrieved 7 May 2013
  9. ^ Ahn, JH (14 Apr 2016) North Korea deploys missile for possible launch North Korea News, Retrieved 14 Apr 2016
  10. ^ North Korea’s missile launch has failed, South’s military says - Washingtonpost.com, 15 April 2016
  11. ^ South Korea: Suspected midrange North Korean missiles fail - Airforcetimes.com, 28 April 2016
  12. ^ a b North Korea launches two midrange missiles; both tests fail - CNN, 29 April 2016 GMT
  13. ^ Tamir Eshel (31 May 2016). "North Korean Musudan IRBM Failed - Again". Defense Update. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  14. ^ N. Korea botches fifth Musudan missile test-launch
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ N. Korea's fifth Musudan test might not have been failure: US expert - The Korea Times, 29 Jun 2016
  17. ^ North Korea's Musudan Missile Test Actually Succeeded. What Now? - The Diplomat, 23 Jun 2016
  18. ^ Kim Jong-un boasts of North Korea's Musudan missiles launch - International Business Times, 23 Jun 2016
  19. ^ Michael Elleman: North Korea’s Musudan missile effort advances - IISS Voices, 27 Jun 2016
  20. ^ Ballistic Missile Classifications
  21. ^ (2nd LD) N.K. leader calls SLBM launch success, boasts of nuke attack capacity - Yonhap, 25 Aug 2016 08:17am
  22. ^ BBC News - How potent are North Korea's threats?
  23. ^ North’s Missiles Raise Concerns, Radio Free Asia, 13 October 2010
  24. ^ North Korea Rolls Out Ballistic Missiles, Global Security Newswire, 13 October 2010
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ U.S. Secretary of State (2010-02-24). "U.S.-Russia Joint Threat Assessment Talks - December 2009". 10STATE17263. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • R-27, astronautix.com
  • R-27, Globalsecurity.org