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KN-09 Cruise Missile

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.

KN-09 300-mm Artillery Rocket

North Korea is believed to have been trying to develop 300mm-caliber multiple rocket launchers capable of flying up to 200 kilometers. The KN-09 300-mm Artillery Rocket is belived to be fired from a 12 tube launcher, and to be a copy of the Chinese PHL03, which itself is a copy of the Russian 300mm BM-30 Smerch.

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 has. 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.

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