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KN-14 First Stage Main Engine Cluster Static Test Firing 4-9-2016

KN-08: Now Known as KN-14 the semi-mobile Limited Range ICBM
No-dong-C / No-dong-D

©By C. P. Vick, 2015/2016

Senior Technical & Space Policy Analyst

Globalsecurity.org

April 14, 2016

KN-14 First Stage Main Engine Cluster Static Test Firing 4-9-2016

We have to be aware and take into account the DPRK deception and physiological warfare operations Image projection at the west coastal Sohae Space Center in North Phyongan province large rocket engine static test facility.

This is a DPRK first stage cluster of two main engines (Soviet era RD-4D10 of the SS-N-6 Soviet Serb, Zyb, R-27. (RSM-25) ), for the KN-14 an upgraded KN-08 static test firing that took place on April 9, 2016. It did include the steering Vernier engines firing as that is a separate engine system already perfected for Unha-3, Unha-9. This successful test firing has taken place after a series of R&D static test firings observed in 2015. Some of those firings were to work out issues before the final viable system was tested this month at the west coastal Sohae Space Center in North Phyongan province large rocket engine static test facility. This is the culmination of the previous DPRK Five Year Plan scheduled research and development operations. The build up to this test firing and others was anticipated in 2015 as the facilities infrastructure continues to expand its capabilities. The Block-II, KN-08 designated KN-14 utilizes a two main fixed thrust chamber, engines cluster and one or two separate closed cycle turbo-pumps and four Vernier thrust chambers as one engine for steering in flight and the second stage has a similar perhaps single altitude main engine arrangement.

Reading the DPRK’s, Five Year Plan suggest that they are aimed for perfection of those technologies within the new 2016-2020 Five year plan to the extent possible but only time will see if this occurs within that Military State. Typically things with in the DPRK mature early in the beginning or middle or near the end of their five year Plan and this year events have been no exception to that rule as expected.

Clearly the DPRK is trying to complete the development of the various technologies required for nuclear weapons working systems as well as their launch vehicle delivery systems. Let face it much of this military technology demonstration under Kim Jung Un’s regime is for his benefit within the military party wise. Remember the DPRK is a military authoritarian state where “the military is the State and the State is the military” or nothing work in the DPRK. It is a credibility issue being addressed on the legitimacy of the DPRK regime and it’s geopolitically issues on the world stage. They are trying to put the DPRK in a position of strength before the world to force its agenda’s in negotiations but there are limits to their gambit game.

It utilized an airframe derivation of the Soviet era Makeyev OKB’s R-29 / SS-N-8, Sawfly, RSM-40 Vysota first and second stage with a first stage cluster of two engines (Soviet era RD-4D10 from the SS-N-6) from Soviet era training, education and technology transfer provided to the DPRK personnel during the Gorbachev era that is well documented under the Globalsecurity.org No-Dong-A, A-1 reports on line previously identified in the 1990’s. It is very evident that in the past and possible even now that there is continuing technology transfer from the Russian Federation Makeyev OKB .

South Korean officials have stated publicly the DPRK has not demonstrated a full range ICBM, KN-08 (KN-14) system still in development with an RV similar to the No-dong-B warhead design or the new RV design to full range and appears to be some years from accomplishing these milestone requirements. Though this could potentially happen within this DPRK mid-term Five Year Plan or sooner this remains to be seen.

Watch out for DPRK deception operations.....

The recent displayed technological developments in progress in the DPRK are full of their deception operations for their image projection purposes. One has to be very cautious about the DPRK deception operations through thorough intelligence analysis processes to understand the systems being demonstrated. This static test firing may appear to be as presented but the actual engine application submerses the main engines inside the first stage missile propellant tank. This test was done with the engine outside the actual full stage tank age. This indicated that this is still an early R&D testing operation not full systems up operation. Things are not being presented as they are as have most of the event demonstrations seen this year 2016.

On the left side of this DPRK/KCNA image we see the KN-08 / KN-14 (Soviet era design RD-4D10 of the SS-N-6) first stage fixed main thrust chambers submerged in the base of the prototype ICBM first stage. Both the main engine single large thrust chamber and one of the steering Vernierís as well as one of the turbine exhaust ducts are displayed in that section of this photo.

Illustration of the first stage (Soviet era design RD-4D10) engine cluster submerged within the propellant tank of the KN-08 / KN-14 prototype ICBM ballistic missile. Some of those components seen in the static test firing released images show many of the associated components illustrated here. The base of the booster engine arrangement shows the four steering chambers in addition to the center main thrust chamber

The Soviet RD-4D10 closed cycle rocket engine schematic diagram

A photograph from an earlier factory visit by the late Kim Jung Ill has shows the cluster of two first stage main engine thrust chambers as well as the previously inter-stage access hatches seen on the KN-08. Both the KN-08 and KN-14 were visited by the present Kim Jung Un. See http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets/Diverse/KN-08/index.htm.

This KCNA images displays the first stage (Soviet era design RD-4D10 of the SS-N-6, KN-11 and No-dong-B / KN-07) two closed cycle engine cluster submerged within the propellant tank of the KN-08 / KN-14 prototype ICBM ballistic missile. The cluster of two main thrust chamber firings can be seen immediately behind the Vernierís firing. It consists of the base bulkhead and the enclosed submerged turbo machinery that extends up at a 45 degree angle the rest of the piping that is in the center above the engine higher test stand support structures. The engine itself is held down by the temporary triangular truss structures so familiar to Soviet era rocketry inter-stages.

In this KCNA image we can see two of the steering Vernier chamber burn in addition to the main thrust chamber burn

This KCNA image displays the first stage two (Soviet era design RD-4D10 of the SS-N-6) closed cycle clustered engine submerged within the propellant tank of the KN-08 / KN-14 prototype ICBM ballistic missile. The DPRK dear leader Kim Jong Un stands in front of the base bulkhead dome and base engine boat tail cylinder all intended to be enclosed and submerged in the propellant tank turbo machinery that extends up at a 45 degree angle the rest of the piping that is in the center above the engine higher test stand support structures. The engine itself is held down by the temporary triangular truss structures so familiar to Soviet era rocketry inter-stages. Below the bulkhead is the base stage fire wall flat plate where the steering Vernierís and turbine exhaust ducts are very clearly visible.

In this KCNA released image more details of the major static test stand are visible in addition to the concrete igloo like shed structure on the left side of the image for preparing the stages or engines for installation in the test stand that are then rolled out on a rail installed platform. This provides both cover for what is being done there as well as environmental clear room requirements. Kim with his fur hat is in fact down near the ground with this group photo of the responsible personnel.