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KN-25 - 450-mm Artillery Rocket

Missiles of August North Korean state media says the regime successfully tested a "super-large multiple rocket launcher" on 24 August 2019, under the supervision of its leader Kim Jong-un. South Korean Sources report the missiles flew about 380-kilometers at an altitude of 97-kilometers. These parameters are significantly higher than those of other recently tested artillery rockets. All of the trajectory parameters reported for these tests must be taken with some caution, since the range flown can be extended by flying without a payload, and the trajectory can also be shaped to fly to a range significantly below the maximum range of the design.

THe KN-25 nomenclature attributed to this rocket is unofficial and preliminary. The KN-23 nomenclature attributed to the "Iskander with North Korean characteristics" seems well established. It is not-unreasonably to attribute "KN-24 to the previously unseen "ATACMS with North Korean characteristics" seems well established. And this previously un-reported 450-mm artillery rocket is next in line.

Following the North's launch of two projectiles on 24 August 2019, its Korean Central News Agency reported that the North was able to verify the technical parameters of their new missile system. Kim reportedly said North Korea was must forge ahead with its development of new strategic and tactical weapons to counter the "ever-mounting military threat and pressure from hostile forces".

Judging by the photographs, these artillery missiles are controlled during flight by small bow stabilizers installed near the warhead, and therefore can deliver accurate strikes, particularly if the receiver equipment includes a receiver for satellite navigation systems. Pyongyang Times reported 25 August 2019 : "Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was greatly pleased to see the significant combat power of the weapon system. He highly appreciated young defence scientists, saying that they are so clever as to conceive and design the greatly powerful weapon purely on their own and bring it to success at the first try, although they have never seen it, and they have done a great job. What made him happy today, he noted, is that the development of the new weapon has resulted in raising a contingent of young and promising talents who will shoulder the rapid development of the Juche-oriented defence industry. Describing them as precious treasure and wealth of the country which would not be bartered for anything, he stressed that the Juche-oriented defence industry will make stready progress thanks to those personnel faithful to the Party and competent.

"Each Juche weapon we have developed embodies the greatness of the Workers' Party of Korea which has provided the war deterrent powerful enough to ensure the destiny and future of the country and people and safeguard Korean-style socialism with responsibility, he said, and it also represents the noble loyalty of our defence scientists who are shedding blood, sweat and tears true to the leadership of the Party. Kim Jong Un together with his dear comrades-in-arms recollected the unforgettable days when he was braving manifold trials to develop strategic weapon systems, saying "August 24 is really an unforgettable good day and just today three years ago we succeeded in the test fire of SLBM to become one of the few countries with that weapon in the world".

"And he stressed the need to push ahead with an indomitable offensive in order to “build up our strength onto the desirable level so that we could continue to step up the development of Korean-style strategic and tactical weapons for resolutely frustrating the ever-mounting military threats and pressure of the hostile forces”.

The test came one day before the Day of Songun [Army First]. Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial that Chairman Kim Jong Il's start of the Songun revolutionary leadership with his visit to the Seoul Ryu Kyong Su Guards 105th Tank Division of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on August 25, Juche 49 (1960) was a historic event of great significance in accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche. The editorial goes on: "Thanks to Kim Jong Un's guidance, President Kim Il Sung's idea of attaching importance to the army and the military affairs and the ever-victorious tradition of our revolution have been successfully carried forward and the dignity, status and national power of the country put on the highest level."

North Korea's state media reported 11 September 2019 that the regime's test launch the day before was of a "super-large multiple rocket launcher," and that it was supervised by its leader Kim Jong-un. Unlike the last time it test-fired such projectiles and made an announcement, state media did not call the launches a "success," raising the possibility that some of the projectiles may have failed to strike their targets. A South Korean military source confirmed that one of the projectiles hit an uninhabited island in the East Sea, referred to in Korean as a rock target, but the other one struck not far away on the North Korean mainland and this might be one reason it didn't call the launches a "success." But the source also said it's premature to call them a complete failure because both of the projectiles flew more than 2-hundred kilometers right over North Korea's own territory, intended to show the regime's confidence in its weapons development.

The North Korean leader reportedly said the launches helped verify the technical parameters of their new launch system and now they only need to test its multiple-launch capability. As for criticism that South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff have not revealed more about the launches, including the projectiles' flight altitude, the Joint Chiefs responded that it's due to concerns about exposing the South Korean military's intel gathering. They also denied local media reports speculating that it's because of a communication failure between South Korean and U.S. intelligence or due to Seoul's refusal to renew GSOMIA, a military intel sharing pact with Japan.

The same source denied claims the regime may have fired three and not two projectiles following the North's release of photos from the launch site that shows a transporter erector launcher and four launch tubes. Three of them were shown to have been uncovered after the launch, while the remaining tube was blocked raising speculations that one of the launches could have been a misfire gone undetected by the South Korean military. Compared to previous pictures of its launches released by Pyeongyang, pictures of these launches hitting a target were not shown this time.

As for criticism that South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff have not revealed more about the launches, including the projectiles' flight altitude, the Joint Chiefs responded that it's due to concerns about exposing the South Korean military's intel gathering. They also denied local media reports speculating that it's because of a communication failure between South Korean and U.S. intelligence or due to Seoul's refusal to renew GSOMIA, a military intel sharing pact with Japan.

KN-25The Transporter Erector Launcher for the rockets tested in mid-2019 appears to be a modified version of the Chinese Sinotruck Howo 8x8 off-road military tactical truck. The Chinese army widely uses Howo truck in many versions. In addition to the militarized version of the standard commercial trucks, there are all-wheel drive 2-, 3- and 4-axis versions. These trucks are used as multi-purpose vehicles. The Chinese Army also uses 8x4 chassis to transport sections of the mobile bridge. On the basis of the Howo was created even a rocket launcher, and other special modifications.

Although there is surely no indication of Brazilian involvement, the displayed KN-25 vaguely resembles the Brazilian Astros SS-150 which fires 450 mm rockets to a range of 150 km with a load of 4 rockets. But the physical size of the rocket is not too far from that of the slightly larger Luna-M (FROG-7), long in North Korean service as the Hwasong-3. The wrap-around fins of the KN-25, which fold inside the cannister and deploy upon launch, are rather more sophisticated in concept than the straightforward fins of the Luna-M, which was carried externally on a launch rail. And the "crank" spin-stabilization motors that are a distinctive element of the Luna-M are entirely absent in the KN-25.

The diameter [0.45 meters], the length [about 6 meters], and the estimated maximum range [about 300 km] of the KN-25 are nearly identical to the Iranian Fateh`-100 , which Iran has been tinkering with to produce inumerable variants since the late 1990s. Although the presence of the Iranian Fateh-110 missile has not been previously reported in North Korea, and while the tube launched KN-25 has technical refinements lacking in the rail-launched Fateh-110 [eg, the wrap-around fins], the KN-25 is probably a Fateh-100 "with North Korean characteristics".

Trump and Bolton disagreed about May missile launches by North Korea, with Bolton saying there was "no doubt" the tests violated UN sanctions. Following those tests, however, Trump said on Twitter "North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me". Many believed Trump was referring to Bolton.

North Korea announced 01 November 2019 it successfully tested a super-large multiple rocket launcher adding to its list of new short-range weapons consisting of an upgraded version of an existing artillery system and large-caliber launcher. Pyeongyang's Korean Central News Agency reported that the firing served as an opportunity to verify the perfection of its firing system. Japan's government said they were short-range ballistic missiles and flew between 350 and 400 kilometers. Tokyo said the missiles fell into the Sea of Japan outside of the country's exclusive economic zone.

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff the projectiles fired on 31 October 2019 afternoon flew across land, signaling the regime's confidence that the test will be successful, according to experts. The two projectiles were fired consecutively within three minutes apart less than the previous 19 minutes meaning it's going to be harder to intercept them with current anti-missile systems. "The weapon's biggest advantage is it can target a wider area with a series of launches within a short period of time. North Korea's sending the message that it can not only fire ballistic missiles, but also target anywhere in South Korea."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was not present at the recent test-firing, but was reported to be satisfied with it. The latest launch was being conducted according to North Korea's weapons development timetable and Kim's absence was a measure to save face in case the test ends up in failure.

This was the third time this year the North test-fired a super-large multiple rocket launcher. A South Korean military source said the recent test-fire, comprised of four launch tubes, is the largest unveiled to date and is the same type that was fired by the North in September 2019 in which one of them is believed to have missed its target.

North Korea carried out its 13th projectile test so far this year on 29 November 2019. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said two short-range projectiles were fired from the eastern region of Yeonpo . Hamkyongnam-do Province towards the East Sea at around 4:59 PM. The projectiles flew some 380 kilometers while their maximum flight altitude detected at 97 kilometers. Like previous instances the military says Thursday's projectiles appear to have been fired from a super-large multiple rocket launcher.

The Trump administration provided its usual muted response to the launch. In line with its previous statements on North Korea's missile tests, the U.S. State Department said it's well aware of the launch and is monitoring the situation by consulting closely with its allies in the region.

Tokyo habitually slammed the test as it did on multiple occasions in the past, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referring to it as “a ballistic missile launch” that endangers Japan and the world. Intentional or not, the gaffe touched a nerve in some bigwigs in Pyongyang. “It can be said that Abe is the only one idiot in the world and the most stupid man ever known in history,” proclaimed a top official at the North’s foreign ministry, as quoted by KCNA. Even civilians who have no clue about missiles are better aware of the North Korean engineering prowess than the Prime Minister of Japan, the publication asserted. A difference between a ballistic missile and a multiple launch rocket system, which is a conventional weapon, can be seen “with a single glance.”

The North launched two ballistic missiles each on August 24, September 10 and October 31, in what it claimed to be a test of a similar, super-large, multiple system. The missiles on August 24 were reportedly fired 17 minutes apart, with those on September 10 and on October 31 launched at intervals of 19 minutes and 3 minutes respectively. Some analysts believe North Korea is working to improve its ability to conduct launches in quick succession. If the North fires projectiles in rapid succession from mobile launchers, Seoul may in some case find it difficult to deal with them. Pyongyang may next try to conduct four launches in rapid succession.

North Korea fired two projectiles estimated to be short-range ballistic missiles from the entire area of ??Wonsan-si, Gangwon-do to the northeastern East Sea at about 6:10 am on 29 March 2020. The flight distance was detected at about 230 km and the altitude at about 30 km, and the launch interval between the two feet was about 20 seconds. This test shot appears to have weighed on actual performance checks. The super-large-fired artillery was a projectile in which North Korea conducted a test shot four times last year, focusing on 'continuous shooting' four times (August 24, September 10, October 31, and November 28). Test launches were also conducted on the 2nd and 9th of this month, and this year, the launch interval has steadily entered every 20 seconds. It is highly likely that a test shot was conducted this time to increase the 'accuracy' of the projectile. North Korea's state media said on 30 March 2020 that the country successfully tested a "super-large" multiple rocket launcher the previous day. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said that the launch was aimed at examining the strategic and technical features of the "super-large multiple rocket launchers" that will be delivered to the Korean People's Army. It was conducted at the Academy of National Defense Science.

However, photographs of this “super-large" multiple rocket launcher released by Rodong Sinmun caused confusion as it appeared closer to a "new-type large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system” that the North claimed to have tested in the summer of 2019. Previous photos that the North released of its “super-large" multiple rocket launcher showed missiles from a truck-based multiple-launch rocket system with four launching tubes. But the new photos showed a transporter-erector launcher with six launching tubes, similar to the previously mentioned guided rocket system.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 11:42:30 ZULU