Find a Security Clearance Job!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


"In wartime, truth is so precious that
she should always be attended by
a bodyguard of lies."
Winston Churchill

North Korean Missile Designations

ROK Nomenclature
KN-01 SS-N-1 Styx ?
Kh-35 (SS-N-25)
KN-02 SS-21 Scarab
KN-03 ?? Hwasong-5 / Scud-B
KN-04 ?? Hwasong-6 / Scud-C
KN-05 ??
KN-06 SAM [S-300 / FT-2000]
KN-07 ??
KN-08 Hwasong-13
KN-09 300-mm Artillery Rocket
KN-10Hwasong-11 mod
KN-11
KN-12MRL 40 x 122mm
KN-13 ??
KN-14Hwasong-13
KN-15Pukguksong
KN-16MRL 22 x 240mm
KN-17ASBM ER-Scud
KN-18MaRV ER-Scud
KN-19Kumsong-3 (Kh-35)
KN-20HS-14 ICBM
KN-21
KN-22Hwasong-15 ICBM
KN-23 9K720 Iskander-M
The "KN" [Korea, North] missile designation system is of South Korean origin. It is apparently applied to missiles of North Korean origin. Some of these missiles are well attested under this designation system, though there are many missing pieces, and no small confusion.
North Korean missiles have too many designations chasing not enough hardware. Initially, the DPRK's missiles were knock-offs of Soviet missiles, so the Soviet designators or derivatives thereof sufficed. By the mid-1990s the North had moved to localized variants of Soviet-derivative designs, and the US Defense Intelligence Agency adopted a naming system that was based on the place name that was nearest to the location where the missile was first observered, e.g. the Taep'o-dong missiles were first seen near the small coastal village of Taep'o-dong.

The older NK- and or NKSL- system is a public derived similar system from the “Cold War” North Korean Satellite Launch System with numeric designations similar to that utilized to define Soviet era satellite launch systems such as the SL-4 Soyuz booster by the US intelligence community.]

The Unha or Eunha (Korean: "Galaxy") is a North Korean space launch vehicle. The December 21, 2012 edition of the Rodong Sinmun cited KCST officials as saying that the Unha-9 will carry a lunar spacecraft, and that Unha-4 through Unha-8 will carry communications and earth observation satellites. The incremental increase in the Unha designations may just be a tactic by North Korea to mislead space experts into thinking that Unha-3 and Unha-2 are two different rockets, given that Unha-2 and Unha-3 are almost the same height and Unha-9 is taller than the former two.

Most North Korean missiles have been given an alphanumeric designator in the Hwasong sequence, the word Hwasong being a Korean word meaning Powerful, Innovative, or Sacrifice. The North's SLBMs have been designated "Pukguksong", the Korean word for Polaris, the polar star. The North Koreans may be a tad crazy, but they also have a sense of humor. The first American SLBM was also called Polaris. This is all pretty confusing. The South Korean intelligence community has evidently sought to bring some sense to the matter with the "KN" [Korea, North] missile designation system. The bad news is that this system is all the way up to KN-22, but no more than half of these missiles have been associated with the other designation systems, so this has added to the confusion, rather than resolving them.

DPRK Nomenclature
Land-Based Ballistic Missiles
Hwasong means “Mars”
aka "Star of Fire"
Hwasong-13R10 Luna-2 FROG-5
Hwasong-2? HQ-2/SA-2 SSM
Hwasong-3Luna-M
Hwasong-4DF-61
Hwasong-5Scud-B
Hwasong-6Scud-C
Hwasong-7No-dong-A
Hwasong-8? Taepodong-1
Hwasong-9Nodong-1M / KN-04 / ER-Scud / Scud-D / Scud 2
Hwasong-10Musudan IRBM
Hwasong-11KN-02
Hwasong-12KN-17 IRBM
Hwasong-13KN-08 / KN-14 / Rodong-C
Hwasong-14KN-20 ICBM
Hwasong-15 KN-22 ICBM
Sea-Based Ballistic Missiles
Pukguksong means “Polaris” aka "North Star"
an homage to the US Polaris SLBM
Pukguksong-1
Pukguksong-2KN-15
Cruise Missiles
Kumsong means “Venus”
aka "Goldstar" / "Star of Metal"
Kumsong-1
Kumsong-2
Kumsong-3Kh-35 (SS-N-25) KN-01
Kumsong-4
More Nomenclature Options
Taeyang = “Sun”
Susong = “Mercury” = "Star of Water"
Moksong = “Jupiter” = "Star of Wood"
Tosong = “Saturn” = "Star of Soil"
ChonWangSong = "Uranus" = Sky King Star
HaeWangSong = "Neptune" = Sea King Star
MyongWangSong = "Pluto" = Dead King Star
Unha or Eunha = "Galaxy"
space launch designation, probably keyed to specific payloads rather than the launch vehicle




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list