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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

KN-08 / Hwasong-14
semi-mobile Limited Range ICBM

North Korean state television announced on 04 July 2017 that the "landmark" test of a Hwasong-14 missile was overseen by the state's leader Kim Jong-Un. The missile reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers (1,741 miles) and flew 933 kilometers, the TV report claimed. The North was "a strong nuclear power state" and had "a very powerful ICBM that can strike any place in the world" the TV announcer said. A further announcement is due later in the day.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central TV claimed that the missile was a newly developed ICBM. "Our scientists and technicians have developed and successfully test-launched a new ICBM called Hwasong-14." North Korea claims the missile had an airborne time of 39 minutes and hit its target in the East Sea with precision. "The missile was fired vertically and did not threaten the safety of neighboring countries. The ICBM reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers and flew a distance of 933 kilometers."

It reached a height of 1,741 miles which was 400 miles higher than the earlier May 14 launch. The Hwasong-14 was claimed to have a range of 10,000 km and can reach anywhere in the world ó a range greater than 5,500 km is an ICBM. This was the DPRK's 11th missile launch this year and their expertise cannot be denied. It is quite likely that they already have a warhead to fit since rational thinking suggests concurrent development.

The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists conducted an analysis of the flight time and distance and concluded that on a standard trajectory the missile could have a maximum range of more than 6,700 kilometers. That would make it capable of hitting all parts of Alaska but short of reaching the U.S. mainland or Hawaii. However the report added that a lack of information makes it hard to determine if the latest launch was a modified version of the intermediate-range Hwasong-12 launched in mid-May. If their report is correct, however, North Korea now has a weapon that meets the technical definition of an ICBM, which requires a minimum range of 55-hundred kilometers.

Donald Trump stated " North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea.... and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!" Trump had responded earlier, saying 02 January 2017 North Korea would not be allowed to create a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the US. "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!"

South Korea's military said that North Korea had fired the missile into the Sea of Japan from a northern province near the border with China. "North Korea fired an unidentified ballistic missile into the East Sea from the vicinity of Banghyon, North Pyongan Province, at around 9:40 a.m. (0040 UTC)," the news agency Yonhap quoted the Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who held a national security council meeting, said the missile was thought to be an intermediate range type. However, he said the military was also investigating the possibility it was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Japan's defense ministry said the missile may have landed in its exclusive economic zone -- an area extending 200 nautical miles from the coast. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: "This launch clearly shows that the threat has grown."

North Korea is close to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile after several nuclear tests, the state's leader Kim Jong Un said 01 January 2017. He also urged the US to stop their "anachronistic" policy towards his country. The isolated state has "soared" as a nuclear power, Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's address on Sunday. North Korea was now a "military power of the East that cannot be touched by even the strongest enemy," said Kim. The nation was preparing a test launch of an international ballistic missile, and the process has already "reached the final stage," he insisted.

Some Western analysts saw design elements in the new North Korean missile engine similar to the 1960s-era Soviet RD-250 engine used on the first stage of the R-36-0 [SS-9 SCARP] ICBM of OKB Yangel and the derivative Tsyklon 2 launcher. The Glushko RD-250 (GRAU Index 8D518) is a dual nozzle family of liquid rocket engines burning N2O4 and UDMH, part of the RD-215 family of engines [which includes 16 variants]. For instance, the RD-218 consisted of three RD-217. It had 6 combustion chambers and 3 turbines. It powered the R-16 [SS-7 SADDLER] ICBM of OKB Yangel.

The common feature here is that these missiles were designed and built in Ukraine. This suggests a second line of post-SOviet leakage, in addition to the OKB Makayev leakage from Russia. While the designer [Glushko] is in Russia, the missile designers and constructors in Ukraine would have had intimate knowledge of these engines. Ukraine is hopelessly corrupt, and it is not too hard to imaginge money changing hands for some old rocket motors and a few Ukrainian engineers to help bring them back to life.

Pyongyang had so far conducted five nuclear tests, shrugging off international sanctions which aggravated the already poor economic situation in a tragically impoverished country. North Korea claimed one of those tests was for a hydrogen-based weapon. Some experts disputed the claim, saying that all weapons tested were comparably less destructive atom bombs. There had also been contrasting reports on Pyongyang's ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and mount it on a missile. An ICBM projectile, armed with a small nuclear warhead, could potentially be used by North Korea against targets on US soil.


The semi-mobile Limited Range ICBM


©By C. P. Vick, 2012-2015

Senior Technical & Space Policy Analyst

KN-08 Block-II Continuation now known as the KN-14

The KN-08 has been revised to the KN-14 lengthen the first stage with its two main engine nozzle and four steering Vernierís now confirmed from imagery from the displays. The second stage has been greatly extended eliminating the Block-I third stage configuration. The warhead is greatly reduced in length and overall dimensions suggesting considerable nuclear device mass and size reduction. The entire design reminds of the former Soviet Unionís UR-100/SS-11 mods in both range performance and design approach. By eliminating the KN-08 Iranian based design third stage revising the stages arrangement length as well as the payload has enhanced the overall performance suggest that this limited range ICBM prototype is much closer to becoming operational versus the previous Block-I design with its many revisions observed. It suggests that the Block-1 was merely a R&D model that has now been supplanted by the KN-08 Block-II, now called KN-14 LRICBM. It certainly reflects why the flight test of this system has been delayed to accommodate the upgraded design systems development for completion with in this Five Year Plan 2016-2021.


Circumstantial evidence had been building up for some years that had begun to suggest to US and South Korean intelligence that North Korea was attempting to develop a semi-mobile ICBM. This information though thin was initially suggested in public speech in a Singapore conference and on a trip to China to the press pool by then U. S. Defense Secretary, Dr. Robert M. Gates followed later by Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, before the House Armed Services Committee . (20, 21) On March 12, 2013 DNI the honorable James R. Clapper stated before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the ..."last April it displayed what appears to be a rogue mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. We believe North Korea has already taken initial steps towards fielding this system, although it remains untested. "

KN-08 Block-II October 2015 Display

KN-08 Block-II

The KN-08 has been revised to lengthen the first stage with its single nozzle and steering Vernier’s now confirmed from imagery from the parade display. The second stage has been greatly extended eliminating the Block-I third stage configuration. The warhead is greatly reduced in length and overall dimensions suggesting considerable nuclear device mass and size reduction. The entire design reminds of the former Soviet Union’s UR-100/SS-11 mods in both range performance and design approach. By eliminating the KN-08 third stage revising the stages arrangement length as well as the payload has enhanced the overall performance suggest that this limited range ICBM prototype is much closer to becoming operational versus the previous Block-I design with its many revisions observed. It suggests that the Block-1 was merely a R & D model that has now been supplanted by the KN-08 Block-II, LRICBM. It certainly reflects why the flight test of this system has been delayed to accommodate the upgraded design for completion with in this Five Year Plan.

Adm. Bill Gortney, the head of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, during his Senate confirmation hearing in July, 2014, said he “…believes North Korea has an operational road-mobile missile that could carry nuclear weapons to the U.S.” and “We assess that it’s operational today, and so we practice to go against that.” Further “It’s the relocatable target set that really impedes our ability to find, fix and finish the threat,” a problem which is compounded by the fact that the U.S. military does not have “persistent” intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets over North Korea‘, and “Our assessment is that they have the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the [U.S.] homeland.”

The North Korean, Hwasong-13, NK-08, LR-ICBM [No-Dong-C] developed from the Acad. V. P. Makeyev OKB derivation of the Soviet SS-N-6 the DPRK, No-dong-B and the Soviet RSM-40 tankage and structures SLBM modified design, the RSM-50 and RSM-54 SLBM's engines for this land based semi-mobile ICBM presently in its research and development phase.

Intelligence Find Confirmed:

The Makeyev OKB ( SKB-385 )in the form of the new version of the KN-08. The New KN-08 is literally a stretched version of the R-29 / SS-N-8, Sawfly, RSM-40 Vysota utilizing a No-dong-B/NK-07/NK-11warhead inside the top tank of the second stage with its highly refined nose maneuvering post boost package and guidance system. This is final proof positive that the total missile program of the DPRK is founded on the Makeyev SKB-385 direct personnel and technology transfer thatr has been suspected fot years. Now there can be no doubt about that fact as exemplified in the hardware displayed recently.

Pending Experimental Flight Test Regime

The recent news according to the Yonhap News Agency of February 17, 2013 from South Korean multiple government, officials not for attribution on intelligence collected is that North Korea the DPRK has successfully test fired the KN-08/No-dong-C prototype missiles critical first & second stage engines in static test firings. It was carried out on the Pongdong-ni, or Dongchong-ri or Tongch'ang-dong, Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province static test firing center. This was not carried out on the Musudan-ri, Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground infrastructure in Hwadae County, in North Hamgyong Province R & D static test center previously used in earlier partially successful test firings as noted below. This testing was carried out during February 11, 2013 shortly before the DPRK carried out its third or fourth nuclear test on February 12, 2013. (88, 89, 90, 91)

This kind of ground testing based on typical past DPRK practices is probably a prelude to the experimental flight test to follow in the next 3-6 months or within one year of the test firings of the flight test engines. This fits within the DPRK mid Five Year Plan cycle when the test flights are expected. Once the engines are cleaned up from being disassembled and reassembled with new seals for flight they would be installed into the operational experiment flight test vehicle that is then shipped to the mobile range test site for its flight demonstration.


Then Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta expressed concerns about the perceived early DPRK country wide dispersal deployment of the KN-08 / No-dong-C semi-mobile ICBM’s which is entirely explainable as noted below under the Purpose of Six or more Ground Test Models of the KN-08’s [No-dong-C]. (92).

Although there have been suggestions post these event that in late March early April 2013 the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province static test firing center had been used for the Unha-9 first stage engine cluster testing there remains unsubstantiated with no confirming evidence for this information coming from South Korean intelligence sources and methods. (93)

July 23, 2013 Observations: NK-SL-X, & Hwasong-13

It should be carefully noted that the roads, bridges, port and railroad infrastructure efforts for the NK-SL-X, medium lift booster have yet to be completed on the regional access to the Tonghae Satellite launching grounds. Until that is done the heavy weight equipment and the prefabricated components for the launch infrastructure cannot be brought on site much less be completed. Since the booster is still undergoing R&D for its final design requirement that directly impact the launch infrastructure requirements certainly defines the delays reasoning. This in fact was the case much earlier in the launch infrastructure development slowdown. It would not be expect that although we have seen the core booster ground test vehicle at the factory they are a good 1.5 Five Years Plans from a requirement for that facility .DPRP State Planning requires that kind of lead time effort. Additionally the Sohae facility can accommodate the large medium lift NK-SL-X booster core flight test booster in addition to handling the Unha-3, Unha-9 booster as it presently exists with few modifications. More recently there have been suggestions that the Sohae static test center was utilized to test fire the Unha-9 booster longer duration burn first stage engines. However there is no South Korean Intelligence sources and methods confirmation of this suggestion. They could only have been related to the Hwasong-13, KN-08 first & second stage engines ongoing testing.

Indeed to the contrary around February 11-16, 2013 the South Korean sources and methods did indeed confirm that the facility had been used for a series of test firings of the Hwasong-13, KN-08 first & second stage engines since the third upper stage engine is perfected and operational. Previous Static test firings of the KN-08 first & second stage engines had not gone so well with several failures. Those issues have apparently been addressed successfully. This analysis leaves the Unha-9 static test firings testing in serious doubt in my mind but until more information is forth coming we can only make these observations. It is equally interesting to note that the so called second launch pad on the Sohae launch infrastructure has no pad or launch gantry umbilical tower available making it ideal for the pending test launch of the Hwasong-13, KN-08 semi-mobile limited range ICBM from that site.

Background Information

The South Korea, Ministry of Defense says the Hwasong-13, KN-08 has a range of 5.000-6,000 kilometers rounded off {4,987.90 - 5,985.48 kilometers} essentially matching the TD-2 performance of 6,000 – 6,700 kilometers. However this all new storable highly toxic liquid fuel three stage Limited Range ICBM has the added advantage of being semi-mobile for pre-surveyed GPS supported launch sites instead of the open soft site for the DPRK space booster efforts. Initial views were that it was a solid propellant Limited Range ICBM but when the detailed close up imagery followed it revealing too many recognizable Makeyev, OKB, ports, vents and access hatches to be a solid propellant missile. Typically road semi-mobile missiles are based on solid propellants that make them hard to track and easier to hide but quickly to launch with almost no warning. It takes hours to prepare liquid propellant versions of semi-mobile ICBM’s which is why the missile will probably be deployed in cave tunnel garrisons or other hardened sheltered sites.

Unexplained, Makeyev OKB Heritage Implication of Continued DPRK Developments

The KN-08 has a V. P. Makeyev OKB, technology heritage design wise but must be presumed to reflect a very real modernized strategic ballistic missile system that is in the advanced stages of development that is intended to match to the extent possible the Taepo-dong-2 space booster capability. In the long run the Taep’o-dong-2 has outlived its strategic usefulness if it ever was intended for that purpose because only open soft sites have been built for it. There can be no further doubt about the ongoing Makeyev OKB liquid propellant RSM-25/RSM-40 vehicle, RSM-54/RSM-50 engines, SLBM’s technology transfer to North Korea based on the entire previous systems heritage. That heritage goes back to the Scud-B through Taep’o-dong-2 technology, and personnel, technology transfer that took place in the Gorbachev era. It strongly suggests that the Makeyev personnel remaining are still working on DPRK missile systems. It is interesting to note they are still having trouble developing space boosters which is not their experience base but they have been highly successful developing ballistic missiles. This Hwasong-13, KN-08 missile provokes and begs the question, Is the missile technology transfer continuing from rogue Makeyev, OKB personnel and Rocket Engine OKB's associated with the RSM-50 and RSM-54 SLBM's engines within the Russian Federation?

The North Korean and Iranian missile heritage family as developed from the Acad. V. P. Makeyev OKB missile systems technology transfer.

We now have a consistent Acad. V. P. Makeyev, OKB launch vehicle and Acad. A. M. Isayev ; OKB -2 propulsion design heritage for the following systems that have flown in flight test except for the latest last two in research and development: They are as follows:

Acad. V. P. Makeyev OKB DPRK Heritage Missile Systems:

Name Type Designations, Missions, S/F

KN-03? Scud-B TBM Success
KN-04? Scud-C TBM Hwasong-5 Success
KN-05? Scud-ER TBM Hwasong-6 Success
KN-07? No dong-A MRBM Success
KN-07? No dong-B IRBM Success
Cancelled Taep’o dong-1 Space booster Unha-1 Failure
  Taep’o dong-2, R & D Space booster Unha-2, 3, 4 Failures/5 success
? NK-SD-SL-X-?, R & D Dedicated Space Booster Geostationary/Manned L.V.
KN-08 No-dong-C, R & D LRICBM to replace TD-2 Hwasong-13 [No-dong-C (cpv)]

TBM-Tactical Ballistic missile, MRBM-Medium Range Ballistic Missile, IRBM- Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, LRICBM – Limited Range Inter-continental Ballistic Missile

Yes Iran has the solid motor technology demonstrated but has it been transferred to the DPRK at this writing is not proven in spite of the level of cooperation in missile & nuclear weapons well documented and demonstrated. Iranian solid propellant missile developments and expectations as it is understood at this writing. It is believed that Iran is reworking Ashura with Sejjil proven technology but it is a delicate program with several dramatic failures experienced so far both on the ground and in flight. For the present the Sejjil has replaced Ashura. Iran is believed to be working on a solid propellant ICBM based on the extension of the Sejjil & Ashura missile systems. But is the DPRK getting that solid motor technology? There is no known public open sources evidence to suggest that.

Iran's Solid motor propulsion family developments

The North Korean and Iranian family of liquid propellant missile developments


Comparisons North Korean (DPRK) and Iranian ballistic missiles & Space boosters through 2013


The critical point is No-dong-B:

Iran and DPRK have the advanced closed cycle propulsion system placed inside their propellant tanks of the No-dong-B that was flight tested on January 17, 2006 out of Iran for both the DPRK and Iran traveling some 3,218 km of its known potential 3,861 km range demonstrated then during one of the DPRK’s moratoriums. In that respect this is both confirmed by the Israeli Intelligence sources & methods but especially the U. S. Ballistic Defense Agency officials in speech.

The North Korean and Iranian No-dong-B missile system derived from the Acad. V. P. Makeyev OKB SS-N-6 missile systems technology transfer to the DPRK.

The North Korean No-dong-B missile transporter erector launcher TEL system as deployed in the DPRK.


The critical point is No-dong-B:

Finally on January 29, 2007 the US government acknowledged for the first time the existence of several new Iranian and North Korean missiles under development through a speech by the deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency of the Pentagon Army Brig. General Patrick O’Reilly before the George C Marshall Institute. In that speech he described the Iranian two stage Ghadr-110 solid propellant missile with a range of (1,324 miles) 1,995.16 or close to 2,000 kilometers. It has been known that the Iranians are working on the Ghadr-101 as well as the Ghadr-110 solid propellant missiles. The Ghadr-101 solid motor development was completed in 2005. He also described the two stage Taep’o-dong-2b as having a range of (6,200 Miles) 9,975.8 kilometers and the three stage version with a range of (9,300 miles) 14,963.7 kilometers with a 250 kg warhead. He went further in his slides presentation to show that the No-dong-B has a demonstrated range of 2,000 miles or 3,218 kilometers (3,000 kilometers) when it is capable of flying (2,485 miles) or 4,000 kilometers. (24) The No-dong-B was described as “a qualitative improvement in the performance” from earlier North Korean missile systems. The Iranian Ghadr-101, 110, 110A will in fact also provides Iran with an ASAT capability besides its operational MRBM and IRBM capability. (23)

Today we know the maximum potential range of No-dong-B is 3,861 km not 4,000 km {But where did that come from in-country vertical probe flight testing?} though 3,218 km has been demonstrated successfully. It utilizes throughout a fuel of Unsymmetrical Dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) while its oxidizer is a derivation of (Inhibited Red Fuming nitric Acid (IRFNA) & N204 = AK-27P) in its single stage. (29)

Advent of the KN-08 LRICBM development progress  

Leaked Department of State Classified Cables Excerpts Confirm Rumors of Two New Missile Systems in Development in the DPRK while continuing the development of the Taep’o-dong-2

Keeping an eye on two circumstantial developments in North Korea (DPRK) missilery Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, noted on December 5, 2011 the known passages from classified Department of State cables from the web site WikiLeaks. It reviews and confirms the KN-08 Semi-mobile LR-ICBM development. (20) The cables also indicates the two different systems at issue one a semi-mobile Limited Range-ICBM and one a large space booster potential super full range ICBM the mission of which was not at the time fully understood when written. (20)  

February 2010 cable: “ One is using the Taepodong-2, with a range of up to 9,300 miles, (14,963.70 kilometers) as its main strategic missile. A second way is to further develop the ranges of existing missiles like the Musudan, [No-dong-B, Mirim cpv] and last is to “use the very large launch facility that is being constructed on the west coast of North Korea to launch a very large missile,” the cable said. (20)


“Oct. 6, 2009, cable on North Korea’s missile program said the Musudan intermediate-range missile is based on Russia’s SS-N-6/(RSM-25) submarine-launched ballistic missile that has a range of up to 2,400 miles.” That is 3,861.60 kilometers. (20)

Several quotes from a public speech in a Singapore conference and on a trip to China to the press pool by then Defense of Secretary, Dr. Robert M. Gates followed later by Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, before the House Armed Services Committee shows that two different systems had evolved over the previous DPRK, Five Year Plan, a Semi-Mobile LR-ICBM and the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province infrastructure growth potential pad and gantry umbilical tower for medium heavy lift space booster (20, 21)

“Officials familiar with the intelligence said government analysts believe the missile could be a variant of North Korea's new Musudan intermediate-range missile,….” (20) [I.E.: No-dong-B, Mirim cpv]


“After a speech in Singapore, Mr. Gates said, "With the continued development of long-range missiles and potentially a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and their continuing development of nuclear weapons, ... North Korea is in the process of becoming a direct threat to the United States." (20)


"Mr. Gates first told reporters Jan. 11, (2011) during a visit to China that North Korea's progress in building intercontinental ballistic missiles was turning the Pyongyang regime into a "direct threat to the United States." (20)


"Pressed for details, he said, "I don't think it's an immediate threat, no. But on the other hand, I don't think it's a five-year threat." (20)

"Let me be precise," he added. "I think that North Korea will have developed an intercontinental ballistic missile within that time frame, not that they will have huge numbers or anything like that, but I believe they will have a very limited capability." (20)


"The Daily Beast quoted Mr. Gates in June (2011) saying, "They are developing a road-mobile ICBM. I never would have dreamed they would go to a road-mobile before testing a static ICBM. It's a huge problem. As we've found out in a lot of places, finding mobile missiles is very tough."(20) [I.E.: Possible Iran’s GPS, experience with liquid propellant semi-mobile ballistic missiles may have helped with perfecting the technology cpv]


“There is development within North Korea of a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile system that we’ve observed,” Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee on Friday. (21)

“We have not observed it being tested yet, to my knowledge. We are watching the development very closely.” (21)

The question to ask of U. S. intelligence and DoD has it been flight tested vertically like a sounding rocket inside the DPRK or Iran and or what have they not told us? The same question especially applies to the South Korean officials of the Minister of Defense and executive branch? Leaked Department of State classified cables excerpts confirm rumors of two new missile systems in development in the DPRK

As of March 2012 no LR-ICBM has been launched according to A dm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, but it has undergone dynamic and static test firing leading to future flight tests in-country with in this five year plan.

DPRK Parade April 15, 2012, the First Public Appearance of the KN-08 LRICBM

The April 15, 2012, the first public appearance of the KN-08 LR-ICBM were merely six KN-08 inert mock-ups for parade display just as the Soviets put on display in Moscow Square twice yearly during the Cold War that were incomplete in their full systems details as displayed. The primary example of what the Soviet did that is very document able is the SS-9, ICBM display with the structural under lying stringers of the warhead clearly visible on its mock-up metal skin. Whether the KN-08 750-800-1,000 kilogram warhead design displayed with its underlying stringers reflects the actual design intended is unknown. The displayed Soviet Parade missile model of the SS-9 models did not show the operational re-entry vehicle design. Yet the real operational SS-9 Scarp ICBM was a very real deployed strategic ballistic missile system. That ICBM today is known as the Commercial Tsyklon space booster of the Ukraine. It has external vernier engine mounting not shown in the parade versions. FOBS/Scrag is another example of the prototype missiles being paraded that was never put into production for deployment. See the following illustrations:

No nation displays fully fueled Ballistic missile much less solid propellant missiles. Never live armed weapons fully fueled. Those same structural underlying stringers are visible on the dummy warhead of the KN-08 in addition to the poor weld lines not ground down. The regiment of six semi-mobile missiles serves multiple purposes for design development, production, ground testing and DPRK, Strategic Rocket Forces training in logistic for operations to come.

Purpose of Six or more Ground Test Models of the KN-08’s [No-dong-C]:

This usually entails utilizing some 10-20 models total in a standard hardware R&D operation:

1. Strategic Rocket Forces logistic brigade training for early field deployment demonstration ring out operations if not to firmly decide the best deployment strategy,

2. Ground Systems testing, fueling, de fueling operations,

3. Manufacturing demonstration with variation in the design considerations,

4. Dynamic testing models which involves several models some of which are destroyed during those stress loads operations,

5. Stage Static Test models two of which have already failed and must be replaced with better refined designs test vehicles based on the failures knowledge gained,

6. Overall Systems integration test development model

They were therefore not fakes but early field deployment models following the Soviet practice’s they were taught. Thus the parade displayed model designs details differences observed. They also serve both as a DPRK Maskirovka operation as well as reflecting a very real system that is in the advanced stages of development that will match the Taepo-dong-2 booster capability as a strategic system. The KN-08, LR-ICBM is a real vehicle seen by DoD, intelligence assets and discussed by former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert M. Gates as noted above. (20, 21, 22)

KN-08 Engine, Stage Systems & Dynamic Testing of Flight Hardware

 The KN-08 boosters stage engines combination have been static test fired four times over sixteen weeks during 2011 and early 2012 at the static test firing and dynamic test facilities located on the Musudan-ri,” (Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground infrastructure in Hwadae County, in North Hamgyong Province. (75, 75A)

It was reported on the 24 hour news channel, “YTN TV of Seoul, South Korea quoted an intelligence source as saying “the communist state carried out four tests over 16 weeks until early this year to develop an inter-continental missile at a test facility at Musudan-ri on the northeastern coast.” And that “The tests were aimed at improving engines and propellant fuel for the missile, code-named KN-08, the source said.” (75, 75A)

It went on further to say as stated by “South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency and the YTN TV later citing military sources and analyst as saying the rocket is a new long-range missile. Presumed to be a ballistic missile with a range of to 6,000 kilometers rounded off (3,700 miles)” This identifies the KN-08 as a limited range ICBM. (75) It is further indicated by Chosun Ilbo that the four, stage engine combination static test firings had at least one or two failure bringing into question whether the test series was successful according to the South Korean military sources. (80,80A, 87)

Recent firings as noted above would seen to indicate that the engine test have resolved the issue previously encountered. (88, 89, 90, 91)

The KN-08 Details as Presently Understood:

The KN-08 as understood today is about 18.7 to 19.0 meter long with the first two stages bodies about 1.8 meters in diameter. Its first stage features a base skirt transitioning from the 1.8 meter body diameter to the skirt 2 meter base diameter. This does not include the four steering vernier's inside the the 2 meter of the base skirt diameter. Its second stage utilizes the main thrust chamber immersed in the top of the first stage. The third stage is 1.3-1.35 meters in diameter and may utilize two or four vernier's on their own separate turbo-machinery derived from the No-dong-B vernier engine. These KN-08 engine, stage systems & dynamic testing of flight hardware were focused on improving the closed cycle propulsion performance of the engines before flight test of the KN-08 commence within this 2011-2015 Five Year Plan soon. The Hwasong-13 first and second stages are an apparent modification of the Soviet era Makeyev OKB RSM-40, Vysota, SS-N-8 SLBM with revision for the tankage and third stage requirements built to the required manufacturing technological level of the DPRK industry capability. KN-08 first stage utilizes improved propellant tank immersed closed cycle propulsion higher performance engine of 50,985.81 kilograms force thrust based on the RSM-54 Shtil R-29M SS-N-23 1st stage engine and the, RSM-50/SS-N-18 Volna 2nd. stage engine, SLBM's propulsion systems technology. Separate from the other vernier engine system the four vernier's on each stage operate based on a separate open cycle turbo-machinery system. The applicable propulsion systems being utilized for the KN-08 will be applied to the NK-SL-X dedicated geostationary space booster’s development program. It utilizes throughout a fuel of Unsymmetrical Dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH) while its oxidizer is a derivation of (73% Inhibited Red Fuming nitric Acid (IRFNA) & 27% N204 = AK-27S) in all stages. (29, 82)

July 27, 2013 Observations: Hwasong-13 Ground Test Semi-mobile R&D, ICBM Prototypes Missile

On July 27, 2013 the DPRK had its 60th anniversary military parade to commemorate the Korean War in which there were only four Hwasong-13, KN-08's displayed in images and video from the event not six as had previously been observed. Those four missiles were much more complete reflecting the maturity of the ground test semi-mobile R&D, ICBM prototypes missile program right down to the white and red DPRK Strategic Rocket Forces standard paint job. During parade practice the KN-08's sported their camouflage netting covering over the missile through out the full length of the TEL.

Observation by some to the affect that the display missiles were fakes was truly a disservice to the public on the Hwasong-13 as if to fill some agenda believing their own lies that was not based in reality. They were anything but that as they were all to real ground test semi-mobile R&D, ICBM prototypes very close to flight testing configuration as previously noted. There were several better imaged access hatches in the inter stage areas between the first, second and third stage. Typical DPRK riveted non un-body welding construction in the inter stage areas was also observed. Staging translation rocket sets angled at the Center of gravity of the second and third stage and payload for separation from the fire in the hole ignition into the top of the first stage for the second stage engine and propellant injection/vent ports were added to the second stage. The displayed four-conic nose cone was much smoother looking than the previous metal shells appearance with a more rounded nose. Never are operational warheads displayed though they closely resemble the actual flight hardware. The First stage retro rockets remained at the staging center of gravity position for that stages propellant depletion to facilitate the proper staging separation alignment while the second stage ignition start up takes place. The stages separation planes are also clearly identifiable. The first stage steering verniers aligned with the retro rockets are off set from the four pad support hold down explosive bolts set ups.

The North Korean NK-08, Hwasong-13, LR-ICBM [No-Dong-C] developed from the Acad. V. P. Makeyev OKB derivation of the SS-N-6 the DPRK No-dong-B and the Soviet RSM-40 tankage and structures SLBM modified design, the RSM-50 and RSM-54 SLBM's engines for this land based semi-mobile ICBM presently in its research and development phase. 

Serious Reality Questions on the Semi-mobile ICBM Viability.

Realistically these are large rocket systems of a semi-mobile designs on the order of 21 meter long and as wide as a railroad car requiring considerable support personnel and mobile fueling vehicles and mobile ground support systems in addition to hours of preparation on pre-surveyed sites. They may be deployed in “coffin”, “silo” or more likely than not “ cave/underground tunnel” which the DPRK is famous for based military garrison sites much like China has done in the past. This vehicle would require an entourage of many support vehicles including multiple propellant tankers trucks for the individual stage propellants as well as power generator and command and control vehicles. In both cases the Taep'o-dong-2 which has failed in three launches in 2006, 2009 and 2012 and KN-08/No-dong-C if launched at some world target would have well over repeating well over half of the vehicle fail to reach their targets. To date both missiles have had no successful demonstration flight tests ranging over 6,000-6,700 kilometers.

TEL Transporter Erector Launcher Revealed:

The North Korean NK-08, Block-1, LR-ICBM [No-Dong-C] transporter erector launcher the tractor and it carriage system was provided by the the PRC China manufacturer.

Serious Reality Questions on the Semi-mobile ICBM Viability

The April 15, 2012, Pyongyang, DPRK, military parade display of the first public appearance of the KN-08 LRICBM with it large Chinese 9 th Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation [CASIC] known as the Hubei Sanjiand Space Wanshan Special Vehicles Co., Inc., factory for heavy transporter short cab model of the tractor WS51200 also called WS2600 super heavy-duty off–road chassis was quite a controversial public surprise. It utilizes a total of eight axles with 16 wheels 1.6 meters in diameter with six wheel steering up front and stretches a total of 20.11 meters and a width and height of 3.35 meters without the DPRK added related equipment bays, erector and pad for the KN-08 ballistic missile. That would extend its length to 21 meters and a loaded capacity of up to 122 metric tonnes at a cost of 30 million Yuan for six vehicles. (81)

On or about October 19, 2010 the DPRK probable front company Rimmok General Trading purchase six and or possibly eight with spare parts of these tractors transporters under the civil pretenses for “ carrying timber” operational use according to the Chinese company possibly through a third party country which remains an unanswered question. (81, 83, 84, 85, 86.) It is known that these tractors have been used to transport Chinese DF-31 ICBM’s. (86) Although the April 15, 2012 Pyongyang, DPRK, military parade only displayed six of these TEL vehicles it is believed to have only initially received two or four of the tractor transporters vehicles earlier in 2011.

Subsequently a second shipment delivered four additional vehicles that were shipped from Shanghai, China, on the Cambodian-flagged cargo ship, Harmony Wish, on August 1, 2011 for a three day journey to the port of Nampo, DPRK where the four transporters were delivered in early August. The Cambodian registered cargo vessel then later on journeyed to Osaka, Japan during October 2011 where upon based on intelligence satellite tracking imagery of the ships activities the Japanese Coast Guard did a thorough inspection of the vessel and its record books for its detailed documentation on the cargo delivered to the DPRK. Therein they discovered that the Harmony Wish, Cambodian registered ship had delivered the four additional military vehicles transporters from the Chinese 9 th Academy of the China, Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation [CASIC] known as the [Wuhan Sanjiang Import Export Co.], Hubei Sanjiand Space Wanshan Special Vehicles Co., Inc., factory. They were the heavy transporter short cab model of the tractor WS51200 also called WS2600 super heavy-duty off–road chassis Subsequently Japanese Coast Guard officials shared this information with Japanese Intelligence that in turn shared it with the Republic of South Korea and the United States. This was a probable a difficult to prove technical violation of the U. N Security Council Resolution 1718 on the part of China though they say that they did not violate the resolution intent or Chinese law. (83, 84, 85, 86.)


The KN-08, Hwasong-13 Semi-Mobile, Limited Range-ICBM system had evolved over the previous five year plan that is a very real R & D vehicle seen by DoD intelligence assets and discussed by former Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert M. Gates. It is in the advanced stage of development heading to flight testing. Through this writing no LR-ICBM has been flown but it has undergone Research & Development, dynamic and static test firing leading to future flight tests within this Five Year Plan


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21. Gertz, Bill, Inside The Ring: North Korea’s ICBM, The Washington Times, March 7, 2012, p. 1,

23., Gertz, Bill, How the “axis” seeks the killer missile, The Washington Times, January 30, 2007, p. ?

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75. N. Korea test long-range missile: report, From AFP, Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the 24 hour news channel, YTN-TV report on the testing of the DPRK, KN-08, limited range ICBM that was also

75A. Also reported by Yonhap news agency, April 14, 2012, P. 1.

80. N. Korea Shows Off Weapons at Military Parade, The Chosun Ilbo, , April 15-6, 2012, pp. 1-2. “Between late last year and February this year, the North conducted four tests of a new booster at its research center in Musudan-ri, North Hamgyong Province. But the South Korean military believe they failed, with one resulting in an explosion.”

80A. An earlier YTN broadcast, aired before the parade, called the new missile by the name KN-08. That report is summarized in English by AFP (

81. ,, , these are some of the various Chinese 9 th Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation [CASIC] known as the Hubei Sanjiand Space Wanshan Special Vehicles Co., Inc., truck factory heavy transporter short cab model of the tractor data sheet.


83. China “exported military vehicles to North Korea, [according to Asahi Shimbun, newspaper reported] The Yomiuri Shimbun, ,June 14, 2012P’s 1-2.

84. Reports: NKorea missile launcher came from China, By Eric Talmadge, associated Press, Tokyo,, June 13, 2012. P. 1

85. US “kept quiet over Chinese UN breach” on North Korea, The Telegraph, ,June 13, 2012, p. 1-2

86. US says raised concerns to China on N.Korea missiles, By Shaun Tandon (AFP), WASHINGTON,, June 13, 2012, p.1-2

87. Isolated North Korea says its rockets can hit U. S mainland, Reuters,, Oct. 9, 2012, p.1. Quote "....., but two recent rocket tests both failed."

88. N. Korea tested long-range missile engine before nuke blast soiurces, Yonhap News Agency, Seoul, South Korea, February 19, 2013 p. 1-2.

89 .WAFF, World's Wrmed Forces Forum, NOKO tests engine for 5,000 km range rocket, February 17, 2012, p. 1.

90. Source: North Korea tested ICBM engine before nuke test, by Akihiko Kaise, Correspondent, AJW, Asahi Shimbo, Seoul, South Korea, February 18, 2013 p.1.

91. N. Korea Tests New Missile Engine Before Nuke Test, The Chosun Ilbo, February 18, 2013, p. 2.

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93. New Long-range Rocket Engine Tests at North Korean Launch Facility: Development Continues, by Nick Hansen, posted July 10, 2013, pp. 1-5.