UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Hwasal-1 Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] - KN-28 ???

The released image of the "Hwasal-2" is consistent with the second observed LACM. Joseph Dempsey observed "Therefore logically the first observed LACM would be 'Hwasal-1'" Both white and black versions of “long-range cruise missile” were on display next to launch vehicles in separate spots at the 12 October 2021 weapons expo in Pyongyang. There appear to be small differences between the two but it is likely that they are an evolution based on one common design. The name Hwasal means "Arrow" and is of Korean origin.

The Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK successfully test-fired new type long-range cruise missiles on September 11 and 12, 2021. The missile was nearly identical in appearange to the American BGM-109 Tomahawk Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM]. The mobile transporter erector launcher (TEL) apparently carried five missiles, while the American GLCM TEL carried four missiles. The types of guidance employed were not disclosed. An inertial guidance system would probably provide an accuracy of about 1 kilometer, sufficient for a nuclear strike against an urban target.

The test flights were successfully held. The launched long-range cruise missiles traveled for 7 580 seconds along an oval and pattern-8 flight orbits in the air above the territorial land and waters of the DPRK and hit targets 1 500 km away. The test launches showed that the technical indices such as the thrust power of the newly developed "turbine-blast" engine, the missiles' navigation control and the end guided hit accuracy by the combined guided mode met the requirements of designs.

The missiles flew successfully using propulsion power generated by the "turbine blast" engine and passed technical indicators with flying colors which included detailed tests of missile parts, scores of engine ground thrust tests, various test flights, control and guidance tests and warhead power tests. The test-firings took place without leader Kim Jong-un present instead, senior military official and Presidium member of the North's politburo of the ruling Workers' Party, Pak Jong-chon watched the launch.

KN-25 450-mm Artillery RocketSome reports suggested that this missile was first seen in the October 2020 military parade in Pyongyang, but contemporaneous accounts provide no mention of such a system. The North has paraded a TEL used by the KN-25 artillery rocket, with the five tubes seen with the new GLCM. Indeed, the new GLCM TEL seems nearly identical with that of the KN-25. But the give-away is that the previous appearances of the five-tube TEL had missiles peeking out the front of the tubes, that had the forward fins characteristic of the KN-25, which are utterly absent from the new GLCM. The 450-mm diamters of the KN-25 is smaller than the notional 533-mm diameter of the new GLCM [based on the Tomahawk dimensions], but the difference is not great.

According to the KCNA, Pak said the missiles are another great manifestation of the tremendous capabilities of the North's defense science and technology and the munitions industry. He stressed the need for the field of national defense science to go all out to increase defense capabilities, the war deterrence of the country and to keep making achievements in meeting the grand and long-term targets of securing war deterrence.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the reported missile launches highlight North Korea's continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community. While United Nations Security Council resolutions bar North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, cruise missiles don’t face such restrictions.

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party is set to hold a leadership election later in September. One candidate, former Internal Affairs Minister Takaichi Sanae, commented on North Korea's announcement that it successfully test-fired long-range cruise missiles. She said, "The missiles pose a big threat to us. It's time for Japan to have precision-guided missiles. It will be a race to disable the enemy bases first." Possibly the new "strategic" weapons could have been test-fired at sea near North Korea's east coast but not far as to invade the waters of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.

South Korea's Defense Minister Suh Wook said the military assets of South Korea and the U.S. detected North Korea's latest test-fire of long-range cruise missiles before the North reported the launch. His remarks came during a regular session of the National Assembly on 14 September 2021 amid speculation that South Korea's military was not able to detect the missiles in advance and was not able to alert the public right away.

Seoul's defense minister said South Korea is already capable of intercepting North Korea's cruise missiles via early detection and that the military continues to enhance its defense capabilities through close observation. He didn't elaborate on when or how they were detected but said specific details regarding the recent launch are being analyzed by the alliance. Regarding the North's cruise missile technology, Suh said the Defense Ministry has been aware of its development since the early 2000s and that North Korea is executing its accumulated tech knowledge in full swing.

DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM] DPRK Ground Launched Cruise Missile [GLCM]

A cruise missile is a guided missile used against surface targets, designed to deliver a warhead over long distances and with high accuracy. They often fly at low altitudes and are hard to detect which leaves the targeted State with little time to react. Several versions of cruise missiles exist with different capacities with regard to payload and range. They have been developed and produced by several countries and have also been acquired and deployed by a further number of States.

Cruise missiles are slower than ballistic missiles so they're in fact easier to intercept but the former also have features to evade defense systems such as flying at low altitudes or being launched in directions that are not easy to detect or predict. Also, sometimes their flying routes are designed to be more complicated so it's incorrect to automatically assume they're easy to intercept.

The fact that the word "strategic" was used by the KCNA to describe the missiles indicating that there's a possibility they're being developed to be able to equip nuclear warheads. Nuclear armed cruise missiles carry with them some very specific risk implications. Cruise missiles can be launched without warning and come in both nuclear and conventional versions. The latter version is more common and has on several occasions over the last decades been used by States, including nuclear-weapon States, against military targets in other States or against non-state actors such as terrorist groups located on the territory of other States.

In any armed conflict involving a State that has cruise missiles in its armory, it is likely that these weapons will be deployed when the military target is deemed sufficiently important or well defended to justify the use of cruise missiles in an attack. This also applies to a state with access to both conventionally and nuclear armed cruise missiles. If the attacking state is a nuclear armed State with access to nuclear armed cruise missiles, then the risk of mistaking the conventional missile for a nuclear one is evident.

The development of a number of different technologies at about the same time made a small, very accurate, lowflying, long-range missile possible. Decreases in the size and weight of both guidance and engines, along with markedly enhanced capabilities, were key developments . Finally, the miniaturization of nuclear warheads made the cruise missile a very potent war machine.

In actuality, the cruise missile, as an operational concept and system, has been around for some time; and very early on inspired rather far-reaching claims. A newspaper account in 1915 called it: "A device . . . likely to revolutionize modern warfare." Before World War I was over, the cruise missile, or the aerial torpedo, as it was then called, was touted as "the gun of the future" and compared in importance with the invention of gunpowder. Billy Mitchell saw it as : "A weapon of tremendous value and terrific force to airpower."

The passing of years has not dimmed enthusiasm for the device, a newspaperman in 1977 writing that : "Except for gunpowder and atomic bomb, no weapon has threatened a greater effect on war and peace than the cruise missile." More temperate comments also emphasize its importance. "The advent of the long-range highly accurate cruise missiles," one high official told Congress, "is perhaps the most significant weapon development of the decade." According to Leslie Gelb, the noted defense analyst : "The cruise missile could be an invaluable addition to our security or a dangerous complication."

Advancing technology transformed the large, unreliable, inaccurate cruise missile of the 1950s and 1960s into the much different cruise missile of the 1970s and 1980s. Improvements in engines, fuels, materials, and guidance account for this change. With the possible exception of guidance, all were evolutionary developments; that is, the technology grew slowly and in predictable steps.

Of all the technologies associated with the cruise missile, the most crucial is, and has always been, guidance. As has been amply demonstrated, one of the constant problems throughout the cruise missile program has been its inaccurate and unreliable, large and heavy guidance systems. But significant incremental improvements in inertial systems and computers, and the development of terrain contour matching (TERCOM), yielded radically new capabilities.

In 1958, inertial systems had an inherent inaccuracy (drift) of about .03 degrees per hour. By 1970, this had been cut to about .005 degrees or one-third nm per hour. Concurrently, the size, weight, and power requirements of inertial systems shrank, decreasing weight from about 300 pounds in 1960 to 29 pounds a decade later. The total cruise missile guidance package, including computer, radar altimeter, and inertial systems, now measures one and one-third cubic feet and weighs 115 pounds. Therefore by 1970, a smaller inertial guidance system had achieved much better accuracy, on the order of one-third nm per hour (about one nm for a 550-knot vehicle traveling 1,650 nm).

Advances in guidance technology were the most important developments in the evolution of the cruise missile. New manufacturing processes and materials did reduce weights and costs, but neither was a major factor in the overall success of the missile. There was another major technological development, however: the evolution of a small fuel-efficient turbofan jet engine.

Air enters and is compressed in both the turbojet and turbofan engine. But while all air passes through the combustion process in the former, part is diverted and bypasses combustion in the latter. A turbojet is simpler, less expensive (1/3 to 1/4), and has a relatively smaller diameter (therefore, less frontal area and drag) than a turbofan The turbofan, however, is more efficient (15 to 20 percent less fuel consumption at subsonic speed), and leaves a smaller acoustical and infrared signature than does the turbojet.

The capabilities of the North Korean jet engine industry were suggested by a July 2013 incident in which Panamanian investigators discovered engines for MiG-21 fighter jets aboard a North Korean ship coming from Cuba. Authorities in Cuba originally said the ship was carrying a donation of sugar for North Korea but once weapons were found Havana admitted there were "obsolete" arms on the vessel being sent to North Korea for repairs. "In these last containers we have found what seem to be jet engines for MiG-21s," Panamanian drug prosecutor Javier Caraballo said on July 31 of what investigators found aboard the North Korean ship "Chong Chon Gang." "We are talking about 12 jet engines in the containers we have opened so far, as well as a vehicle that seems to be some type of control center, used to direct batteries of radars and missiles."

A mobile transporter erector launcher (TEL) carries one or more missiles. In the field, the units are capable of self-contained operations for a period of time. The ground-launched cruise missile [GLCM] possessed many military advantages. The mobile GLCM is much better able to survive pre-launch attack than either aircraft on the ground or stationary missiles.

The latest tests were assessed to have come in response to Seoul and Washington's recent joint military exercise and Seoul's test launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile(SLBM). The test-fire of long-range signifies that the North is trying to send a message to the U.S. and the international community that not only does it possess state-of-the-art ballistic missiles, but is also developing cruise missiles that could reach U.S. bases in Japan, Guam and Alaska.

Public broadcaster NHK assessed that Pyongyang likely conducted the tests to highlight its unchanged position regarding its missile development. The broadcaster also took note of the launches occurring ahead of a meeting of the top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan in Tokyo this week to seek ways to jump start the denuclearization process.

The launch was seen by some as measured as just enough to not provoke too much from the U.S. by launching intercontinental ballistic missiles which would surely cross the U.S.' "red-line" but at the same time be able to pressure the Biden administration for future negotiations. The latest military parade carried out by the North 09 September 2021 did not display new strategic weapons. In addition to economic concerns and pandemic concerns which also may have induced a down-scaling of the parade, possibly the North was also trying to show the Americans that they are reasonable and open to negotiations.

Christine Parthemore wrote in 2017 that : "A number of experts consider the risks of miscalculation, misperception, rapid escalation, and arms racing to be greater for nuclear-armed cruise missiles than for many other types of nuclear weapons. Some of these risks are inherent to the characteristics of current and planned nuclear-armed cruise missiles, while others stem from perceptions of rhetoric regarding their use and other factors."


The Academy of Defence Science of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea conducted the test-fire for updating long-range cruise missile system on 25 January 2022. Officials of the Department of the Munitions Industry of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and leading officials of the Academy of Defence Science guided the important weapon tests in field. In the test-fire for updating the long-range cruise missile system, two long-range cruise missiles flew for 9,137 seconds along the flight trajectory over the East Sea of Korea to hit the target island 1,800 km away. KCNA reported "The practical combat performance of the long-range cruise missile system would hold a reliable share in boosting the war deterrence of the country.""

The cruise missiles could be a new type first displayed at a defense exhibition held in Pyongyang in October 2021. North Korea's announcement of the missile launches referred to what it called a "missile warhead institute" for the first time. The institute was described as an entity under the Academy of Defense Science.

Bryan Betts noted "South Korea’s military reportedly did not detect a black-livery cruise missile launched from a five-canister TEL in Sept. 2021. The military said it did detect the same apparent system during an Oct. 2022 test, but said it chose not to disclose the launch publicly in real time “based on considerations over exposing our government’s surveillance capabilities.” That was a departure from Jan. 2022, when Seoul announced a DPRK cruise missile launch in real time, days before Pyongyang published details and photos showing the white-livery missile launched from a five-canister TEL on a luxury hotel’s beach near one of Kim Jong Un’s mansion compounds."

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 14-04-2023 18:21:33 ZULU