KN-9 - 300-mm Artillery Rocket
On 04 May 2019, the DPRK launched a training firing of two types of large-caliber multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and tested a new short-range ballistic missile. Based on the available information, rocket expert Michael Elleman on 38north.org came to the conclusion that the fire was fired from two-caliber MLRS - 240 and 300 mm. The 240 mm rockets might have a firing range of 40-50 kilometers and a relatively small charge weighing about 45 kg. The MRLs with 300mm diameter might haveh a range of 90-200 km. In the USA they are known as KN-09. Their warhead is also small. For the first time these MLRS were tested in 2013, repeated tests passed in 2014 and 2016. KN-09 are installed on three-axle trucks equipped with two launch containers - four launch tubes per container.
North Korea launched two projectiles on the morning of 06 August 2019 from South Hwanghae province towards the Sea of Japan. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said both were presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles. North Korea's state-run media said Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of a new type of tactical guided missile. The "new-type tactical guided missiles," launched from the western area of North Korea, flew across the peninsula "over the capital area and the central inland region" to "precisely hit the targeted islet" in the sea off the east coast of the country, KCNA said. The report also said Kim praised the launch, saying it would send a warning to the joint US-South Korea military drills that are now underway. North Korea's latest missile launches were meant as a warning to Washington and Seoul over their joint war games, the North's leader Kim Jong Un said, according to state news agency KCNA.
Trump told reporters: "I think it's very much under control, very much under control." Trump added the missile launches did not violate any promises Kim had made to him. "They were short-range missiles," Trump said. "We never made an agreement on that. I have no problem. We'll see what happens. But these are short-range missiles."
North Korea launched two short-range projectiles towards the East Sea early 02 August 2019 from Youngheung in Hamgyongnam-do Province near North Korea's eastern city of Wonsan. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles reached an altitude of around 25 kilometers and flew some 220 kilometers recording a maximum flight speed of Mach 6.9, that's around 8,500 hundred kilometers an hour. North Korea launched the two short-range projectiles at around 2:59 AM and 3:23 AM, Korea time. They are the second launch in two days and third in just over a week.
Donald Trump said North Korea's missile launches are "very much under control". Trump downplayed the launches saying. he's not worried because they were short-range and in his words, "very standard." “We never made an agreement on that. I have no problem,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens, but these are short-range missiles. They’re very standard.” US officials say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally promised Trump not to conduct longer-range missile or nuclear tests.
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on 30 July 2019, less than a week after it launched somewhat larger KN-23 missiles near the same area. The two missiles were launched at 5:06 a.m. and 5:27 a.m. local time each near the DPRK's eastern city of Wonsan, traveling about 250 km at an altitude of some 30 km. North Korea said the test was of a "newly developed, large-caliber multiple-launch guided rocket system" -- an announcement that countered analysis by the South Korean military. Pyeongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency later released a report and photos of the test.
The photos are blurred in some parts but still, the weapon in these photos looks starkly different from the short-range missiles the North launched the previous week. In the more recent test, it is possible to see several launch tubes installed on a transporter erector launcher. It looks like a multiple rocket launcher, not a single missile launcher. Because the photo is blurred, it's difficult to compare this with the 300-millimeter multiple rocket launcher that the North already had. But it seemed this one has a bigger diameter at the bottom than the previous one. The North pixelated these photos so as not to reveal the weapon's exact traits.
The North's media said leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the test launch. They added that the system met its test requirements and proved its combat effectiveness. "Kim Jong-un said the test launch was outstanding and that this should be a worrisome reminder to those who might fall into our crosshairs."
What the North says it fired -- a multiple launch guided rocket system -- is not what the South Korean military said it was on the day of the launch. They said the regime had fired short-range ballistic missiles, and despite the new photos, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff stuck by their original analysis. The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the U.S. saw that the projectiles had flight characteristics similar to the new type of short-range ballistic missiles fired the previous week.
Large multiple rocket launcher [MRLs] and short-range ballistic missiles have similar ranges and trajectories, and therefore the distinction is semantic, and it is a distinction without a difference. In this instance, the semantic dispute may have been with reference to whether the missiles being tested were 300mm artillery rockets or 450mm short range ballistic missiles.
North Korea was believed to have been developing a 300mm-caliber multiple rocket launcher capable of flying up to 200 kilometers. The KN-09 Artillery Rocket was initially believed to be a copy of the Chinese 273mm PHL03, which itself is a copy of the Russian 300mm BM-30 Smerch [with a range of 90 km]. But these rockets tested in mid-2019 were evidently rather larger than the KN-09, which evidently has twice the range of the BM-30.
The DPRK fired three short-range projectiles from the southeastern region toward its eastern waters on 27 June 2014. The projectiles, which flew about 190 km, were not exactly in line with any weapons, which South Korea claimed the DPRK had. Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated those might be 300- milimeter multiple-rocket launchers termed by South Korea as KN-09 with a range of 150-160 km or its modified version. The spokesman said the projectiles may be a newly developed weapon for the DPRK's part, but he said it was in a par with weapons already developed by other countries. He added the flying range of such weapons kept rising gradually.
The DPRK's official KCNA news agency said that top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un "guided" the test-launch of newly developed tactical guided missiles, indicating Thursday's projectiles were the guided missiles.
If those projectiles were fired from the modified multiple- rocket launchers, it would pose a great threat to South Korea. Those projectiles, which flew 190 km, can directly strike the headquarters of South Korea's Army, Navy and Air Forces located some 130 km south of Seoul. The Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), which Seoul has sought to build up to intercept ballistic missiles from the DPRK, could not shoot down those short-range projectiles as the KAMD is a defense system for missiles.
The DPRK fired 90 short- and medium-range missiles and projectiles, including 300mm multiple-rocket launchers, Scud and Rodong missiles as well as FROG surface-to-surface missiles, from 21 February 2014 to 26 March 2014 in protest against the joint military drills between Sourth Korea and the USA.
"The North fired off three short-range projectiles using a 240 mm multiple rocket launcher at around 6 a.m. from Wonsan on its southeastern coast," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said 04 March 2014. They flew about 55 kilometers in a northeasterly direction. "Around 4:17 p.m., the North fired four more projectiles from an area near Wonsan, again in a northeasterly direction, and they flew around 155 kilometers," Kim said.
The ministry speculated that they could have been a new KN-09 launcher firing 300-milimeter rockets with a maximum range of about 180 kilometers. As the KN-09 can fire several missiles in short succession, the launcher is seen as a serious threat to South Korean and US troops, including US bases in Pyeongtaek and Osan, located some 160 kilometers from the demilitarized zone.
North Korea continues to develop its nuclear program: a large-caliber multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) may be deployed late in 2016, having completed the development of the weapon, South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo said 06 April 2016. In March 2016, Pyongyang announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had inspected the final test fire of the 300-millimeter caliber rockets, which are equipped with an accurate guidance system, according to the Yonhap news agency.
"Recently, North Korea test-fired the system several times, through which, I believe, it has nearly completed the development… Under this assessment, I think North Korea will deploy the 300-mm MLRS as early as at the end of this year," Han told reporters.
In March, the South Korean National Defense Ministry said in its strategy that it was planning to develop ground-to-ground guided munitions in a response to threats posed by the North's MLRS.
The designation KN-09 is a bit confusing. North Korea has a new generations of artillery, and some reporting suggests that the KN-09 is an artillery rocket, not the Kh-35 anti-ship cruise missile. The Kh-35E (also known as 3M-24E) was received from Russia in the 1990s. The North Korean Kh-35 differs from the original Russian Kh-35. Most notably, the canisters have been extensively modified compared to the original Uran-E launcher.
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