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Type Mobile medium-range ballistic missile
Place of origin North Korea
Service history
In service 1998 - present[2]
Used by
Production history
Manufacturer North Korea
Produced 1990 - present[3]
Length 15.6 m[4]
Diameter 1.25 m[4]
Warhead weight 1,000 kg (est.)[2]

Engine Liquid
Propellant liquid
1,000–1,500 km (est.)[2]
Flight altitude 160 km if in lofted trajectory which reduces the operating range to 650 km[5]

The Hwasong-7 (spelled Hwaseong in South Korea) is a single stage, mobile liquid propellant medium-range ballistic missile developed by North Korea. Developed in the mid-1980s, it is a scaled up adaptation of the Soviet SS-1, more commonly known by its NATO reporting name "Scud".


Estimated maximum range of some North Korean missiles [6]

Hwasong (Hwaseong in South Korea) is the Korean word for "firestar/mars".

It is believed North Korea obtained Scud-B designs from Egypt and possibly Scud-C designs from China, and reverse-engineered them into a larger and longer-distance weapon. U.S. reconnaissance satellites first detected this type in May 1990 at the Musudan-ri test launch facility.[7]

The precise capabilities and specifications of the missile are unknown; even the fact of its production and deployment are controversial. It is a larger variant of the Scud-B, scaled up so its cross-sectional area is about double that of the Scud, with a diameter of 1.25 metres (4 ft) and a length of 15.6 metres (51 ft).[4]

Its aerodynamic design is stable, so it does not require modern guidance systems. It can only be fueled when vertical, so cannot be fueled before transport as is normal for modern missiles.[4] Its range is estimated as 900 km with a 1000 kg payload[4] to a range of between 1000 km to 1500 km with a 1000 kg payload.[2] However, North Korea test-fired three Hwasong-7 missiles consecutively on 5 September 2016 and they all flew for about 1000 km, landing in the Japan Air Defense Identification Zone with high accuracy.[8]Hence, the operating range of Hwasong-7 must be somewhere above 1000 km.

It has an estimated CEP of one or two kilometers.[9] North Korea is believed to possess some 300 Hwasong-7 missiles[10] and fewer than 50 mobile launchers.[11]

The Hwasong-7's technology has been exported to foreign nations (such as Iran and Pakistan) in secrecy on the basis of mutual exchange of technologies, with Iran being the most beneficiary of such technology. Successful variants were tested and deployed by Iran after developing the Shahab-3 which is roughly based on Hwasong-7.

Pakistan, however, suffered with repeated failure due to flawed design given in exchange but succeeded in reevaluating the missile's conceptual design and its electronic system in 1998. The Hatf 5 Ghauri missile which is independent of Rodong-1's design, eventually entered in the active military service in 2003.

A few Hwasong-7 missiles were launched in the 2006 North Korean missile test, and two in a 2014 test over a range of 650 km.[12][13]

The Hwasong-7 is one of North Korea's most effective ballistic missiles because it is more difficult to intercept by missile defenses. Although it has an estimated range of 1,000–1,500 km (620–930 mi), launches in March 2014 flew only 650 km (400 mi). Their range was shortened by firing at a higher launch angle, which may enable them to avoid interception. The missiles flew to an altitude of 160 km at Mach 7, while U.S. and South Korean Patriot PAC-2/3 interceptors are more specialized to hit Scud-type missiles up to 40 km high. To counter this, South Korea is indigenously developing the long-range surface-to-air missile (L-SAM),[5] and on 8 July 2016 the U.S. agreed to deploy one THAAD missile defense system in Seongju County, in the south of South Korea, by the end of 2017.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Fact Sheet: North Korea’s Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs - Arms Control Center, July 1, 2013
  3. ^ a b "Egypt's Missile Efforts Succeed with Help from North Korea". Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. 1996. 
  4. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b NK's March missile test aimed at evading interceptor systems: sources -, 19 June 2014
  6. ^ BBC News - How potent are North Korea's threats?
  7. ^ Bluth, Christoph (July 31, 2011). Crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Potomac Books Inc. p. pages not numbered. ISBN 9781597975773. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  8. ^ North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles; Japan calls it 'serious threat' – CNN, 2337 GMT 5 September 2016
  9. ^ John Schilling, Henry (Long) Kan (2015). The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems (PDF) (Report). US-Korea Institute at SAIS. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Around 70% of N.K. missiles target S. Korea -, 4 March 2013
  11. ^ Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat (PDF). National Air and Space Intelligence Center (Report). Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency. April 2009. NASIC-1031-0985-09. 
  12. ^ "North Korea test-fires 'ballistic' missiles". BBC. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Choe Sang-Hun (25 March 2014). "North Korea Launches Two Midrange Missiles". New York Times. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Yoo Seungki (4 August 2016). "Shift in THAAD site in S. Korea nothing to solve controversies". Xinhua. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 

External links[edit]