KN-08

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KN-08
Type Ballistic missile, Mobile IRBM ICBM TEL, can be modified as SLBM
Place of origin North Korea
Service history
Used by North Korea
Production history
Manufacturer North Korea
Produced
  • 2012 (First seen in Parade)
  • 2016 (First alleged failed test on 9 Oct 2016 and 20 Oct 16, see below on 'list of test' section.)
Specifications
Length 16 m PVB 18 m longer (12 to ± 20 m, improvements can be longer (RS-24\RT2PM2 dimensions))
Diameter 1,8 m (1,60 to 1,87 m ± (if it enlarged, like Rodong-1 and other missiles))
Warhead nuclear

Engine

Conflicting Reports, either:

  • Liquid as in the case of the missile based on Hwasong-10
  • Solid as in the case of the missile based on Pukkuksong-1
Propellant

Conflicting report, either:

Operational
range

Conflicting Report, either:

  • 1500 to 6,000 Km (With IRFNA AK TG02)
  • 3,000 to 12,000 Km (With other propellants , like NTO UDMH, or LOX Kerosene)
Launch
platform
  • MAZ-based vehicle
  • Possible to have SLBM variant on submarines

The KN-08, also known under the names Rodong-C (Chosŏn'gŭl노동-C; Hancha勞動-C) and Hwasong-13 (Chosŏn'gŭl: 화성-13; hancha: 火星-13), is a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile believed[1] to be under development by North Korea.[2][3][4][5] The changes shown in the mock-up displayed in October 2015 indicated a change from a three to two stage design.[6]

Development[edit]

Mock-ups of the missile were first displayed during a military parade in April 2012 to mark the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung.[3][4][7][8] Six missiles were carried on 16-wheel [9] transporter erector launchers,[10][11] similar in size to those used by the Russian RT-2PM2 Topol-M missiles.[5] The TELs are thought to be based on WS-51200 frames made by Wanshan Special Vehicle in China,[4][8] possibly using technology from Minsk Automobile Plant.[5][12] UN investigators have concluded that the TELs were Chinese WS51200 trucks exported to North Korea for lumber transport. The North Koreans converted them into TELs by installing hydraulic gear and controls to erect a missile. Despite being converted to fire a missile, the truck would not be likely to survive damage from the rocket exhaust like a purpose-built TEL, making it a single-use launcher.[13]

Mock-ups were again paraded in 2013, with fewer discrepancies between them than in the previous year.[14] The KN-08 was paraded again to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Korean Workers Party on 11 October 2015. In this parade, the missile featured a modified smaller-in-length but larger-in-diameter third stage plus re-entry vehicle section design,[15] which has led to suggestions that North Korea might have perfected nuclear warhead miniaturization.

The KN-08 mock-up dimensions are estimated to be: length of about 17.1 metres, and first and second stage diameter of about 1.9 metres, reducing to about 1.25 metres for the third stage.[16] Liquid-fueled ICBMs generally only have two stages for best performance, with a few exceptions (usually when an existing design is upgraded). The three stage design of the KN-08 is puzzling.[17] While a three-stage design is common for solid propellant ICBMs, western analysts say that North Korea lacks the experience and ability to develop a solid-fueled ICBM.[18]

In early 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that although they had not seen the KN-08 tested, they believed North Korea had the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08, and it was prudent to plan for that threat.[19] The KN-08 theoretically poses a threat to the U.S. mainland, able to deliver a 500–700 kg (1,100–1,500 lb) payload 7,500–9,000 km (4,700–5,600 mi) to the American West Coast. Practically speaking however, its accuracy is likely "barely adequate" to target large cities, mobility would be limited to paved roads, and the system will require 1–2 hours of pre-launch fueling. The KN-08 may achieve an emergency operational status by 2020.[20]

List of KN-08 tests[edit]

Attempt Date Location Pre-launch announcement / detection Outcome Additional Notes
1 (Alleged) 15 Oct 2016 12:03 pm Pyongyang Standard Time Kusong None Failure (South Korea & US) Initially the US military identified this test as an "Intermediate Ballistic Missile launch failure" from a Hwasong-10 missile without specifying details.[21][22] North Korea is silent on this report.

On 26 Oct 2016 however, Washington Post carried a report from an analysis from Jeffrey Lewis who raised that there is 50% chance which the North Korea might have actually tested their domestic ICBM (Western intelligence sources named this missile as KN-08) based on the burn scars evidence taken from satellite imagery to be bigger than any other Musudan (Hwasong-10) tests. He concluded that this test has damaged the launch vehicle without flight.[23]

In the same report, Jeffery Lewis has also stated not to place full trust on the U.S. agency StratCom for identifying missile. He had cited the track of StratCom which has misidentified the three missiles launched last month by identifying them initially as short-range Rodongs, subsequently medium-range Musudans which turned out to be extended-range Scud missiles.[23]

Jeffery Lewis is nonproliferation expert and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).[23]

The news is also reported by other media agencies, including Yonhap.[24][25]

2 (Alleged) 20 Oct 2016 7:00 am Pyongyang Standard Time Kusong None Failure (South Korea & US) Initially the US military identified this test as an "Intermediate Ballistic Missile launch failure" from a Hwasong-10 missile without specifying details.[26]

The launch just took place hours before the final US Presidential Election 2016 debates starts and the North Korea is silent on this report.

On 26 Oct 2016 however, Washington Post carried a report from an analysis from Jeffrey Lewis who raised that there is 50% chance which the North Korea might have actually tested their domestic ICBM (Western intelligence sources named this missile as KN-08) based on the burn scars evidence taken from satellite imagery to be bigger than any other Musudan (Hwasong-10) tests. However, the missile in 20 Oct 2016 test could have fly for a short distance before things went wrong as compared to the test in 15 Oct 2016 which damaged the launch vehicle instead.[23]

In the same report, Jeffery Lewis has also stated not to place full trust on the U.S. agency StratCom for identifying missile. He had cited the track of StratCom which has misidentified the three missiles launched last month by identifying them initially as short-range Rodongs, subsequently medium-range Musudans which turned out to be extended-range Scud missiles.[23]

Jeffery Lewis is nonproliferation expert and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).[23]

The news is also reported by other media agencies, including Yonhap.[24][25]

New KN-08 based missile: KN-14[edit]

The mock-up displayed by North Korea in October 2015 was significantly different to previous years, with two stages rather than three. Overall size was somewhat reduced, with larger fuel tanks for the two stages. It was no longer built with extensive riveting, suggesting a more modern structural design, with reduced weight.[6]

On 31 March 2016, the Washington Free Beacon reported that North Korea this missile shown in 2015 is a new missile, KN-14 instead of KN08. The KN-14 missile, being similar to Russian R-29 SLBM in terms of appearance, but with a range of 8,000 to 12,000 km. Therefore, KN-14 is also given the nickname of "KN-08 on steroids". Neither KN08 nor KN14 have flight tested as of 2016 April, but the report claimed that North Korea has tested the missiles in "all other aspects". This report noted that Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in this report concluded KN-14 with a 10,000 km range could hit Chicago and Toronto, but insufficient range to hit Washington from the furthest North point in North Korea.[27] The report is also quickly republished in Japanese,[28] Chinese,[29] Taiwanese[30] and Korean[31][32] media.

Reactions from Chinese military expert[edit]

For this new missile, the CCTV 4 aired a 9-minute-long interview with a Chinese military expert discussing about KN-14 and North Korea's potential in future. This video was subsequently uploaded into other Chinese Internet TV.[33]

The Chinese expert in the video has estimated that North Korea can have a true ICBM strike against US mainland between 2021 and 2026 if they can successfully master their Musudan missile. He stated that the technology and the theory behind an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile is exactly the same as an ICBM except that ICBM involves more stage separation in order for the missile to have a longer range. North Korea has successfully demonstrated their stage separation technology by the latest 2 satellite launches in 2012 and 2016.

However, he noted two weakness of North Korea's missile development program. One is that the North Korea's missiles are based on the older missile designs. Therefore, their flaws continued in their new missile development since North Korea has conducted only minimal flight tests compared to other countries with active missile development programs. The other aspect is that all of North Korea's ballistic missiles except the KN-02 are liquid fueled, and therefore the preparation, fueling, and launch takes hours. This amount of time would give enemies such as the United States or South Korea time to conduct airstrikes and destroy the missiles before they could be launched.

However, North Korea may also be studying Soviet encapsulation techniques such as those used in the UR-100 ICBM, where each missile comes prefueled in a maintenance-free capsule with a mean time between overhauls of several years and a preparation time required before launch reduces to minutes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gertz, Bill (December 5, 2011). "North Korea making missile able to hit U.S.". The Washington Times: 1–4. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  2. ^ C. P. Vick (2012–13). "KN-08:The semi-mobile Limited Range ICBM – No-dong-C". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  3. ^ a b Jonathan Marcus (27 April 2012). "New ICBM missiles at North Korea parade 'fake'". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  4. ^ a b c "An essential aspect of ballistic proliferation: transporter erector launchers (TEL)". CESIM. 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  5. ^ a b c Nick Hansen (4 May 2012). "North Korea’s New Long-Range Missile – Fact or Fiction". 38 North. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  6. ^ a b John Schilling; Jeffrey Lewis; David Schmerler (22 December 2015). "A New ICBM for North Korea?". 38 North. U.S.-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 6 January 2016. 
  7. ^ Markus Schiller; Robert H. Schmucker (April 18, 2012). "A Dog and Pony Show, North Korea’s New ICBM" (PDF). armscontrolwonk. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  8. ^ a b Craig Scanlan (April 19, 2012). "North Korea’s Newest Road-Mobile Ballistic Missile". Asia Security Watch. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  9. ^ Jeffrey Lewis (September 11, 2012). "KN-08 Markings". armscontrolwonk. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  10. ^ "North Korean missile vehicle 'similar' to China design". BBC News. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  11. ^ "US 'kept quiet over Chinese UN breach' on North Korea". The Telegraph. 13 Jun 2012. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  12. ^ Melissa Hanham (July 31, 2012). "North Korea's Procurement Network Strikes Again: Examining How Chinese Missile Hardware Ended Up in Pyongyang". NTI. Retrieved 29 December 2012. 
  13. ^ Tales Of The Forbidden TEL - Strategypage.com, 19 July 2013
  14. ^ Jeffrey Lewis; John Schilling (4 November 2013). "Real Fake Missiles: North Korea's ICBM Mockups Are Getting Scary Good". 38 North. U.S.-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Richard D. Fisher (12 October 2015). "North Korea unveils new version of KN-08 ICBM". Janes Defence. Retrieved 13 October 2015. 
  16. ^ John Schilling (12 March 2015). "Where's That North Korean ICBM Everyone Was Talking About?". 38 North. U.S.-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Markus Schiller; Robert H. Schmucker (2 May 2012). The Assumed KN-08 Technology (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Aaron Mehta (8 April 2015). "US: N. Korean Nuclear ICBM Achievable". DefenseNews. Gannett. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  20. ^ John Schilling, Henry (Long) Kan (2015). The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems (PDF) (Report). US-Korea Institute at SAIS. 
  21. ^ North Korea conducted failed ballistic missile test, US military says - The Guardian, 15 Oct 2016 22:34 British Standard Time
  22. ^ US military detects 'failed ballistic missile launch' in North Korea after state media vows revenge for 'hostile acts' - The Independent, 15 Oct 2016
  23. ^ a b c d e f Did North Korea just test missiles capable of hitting the U.S.? Maybe. - Washington Post, 26 Oct 2016
  24. ^ a b (LEAD) N. Korea's failed missile tests could have involved KN-08: U.S. expert, Yonhap 27 Oct 2016 12:06
  25. ^ a b 美专家:朝鲜本月试射的并非“舞水端”而是洲际弹道导弹 - CRI Online (In Chinese: "American Exert: North Korea's missile test in this month isn't 'Musudan' but an ICBM"), 27 Oct 2016 11:33:25
  26. ^ (LEAD) N. Korea's launch of Musudan missile ends in failure again: military - Yonhap, 20 Oct 2016 11:11
  27. ^ "Pentagon Confirms New North Korean ICBM". 
  28. ^ http://www.news24.jp/articles/2016/04/01/10326292.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ . 1 April 2016 http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/china/2016-04-01/doc-ifxqxcnr5175529.shtml.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ http://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20160402001587-260417.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ . 1 April 2016 http://news.donga.com/BestClick/3/all/20160401/77351139/1.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ "S. Korea, US Name Upgraded Version of N. Korean ICBM". 
  33. ^ http://tv.people.com.cn/n1/2016/0401/c67816-28245618.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]