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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


05-11-2010 update

No-dong-B/Mirim IRBM

Totally Orchestrated Deception Was North Korea ’s Flight Testing Game

At Variance Intelligence Assessment Question

By © Charles P. Vick, 2007 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



Was the deception by North Korea and Iran so well orchestrated that at least one of the last two of seven flight tests by North Korea on July 4-5, 2006 may possible have been a No-dong-B flown inside a No-dong-A flight profile. The missile in question was possibly transmitting on the No-dong-A, A1 telemetry format while possibly doing a simulated ICBM warhead re-entry test by powering the warhead thrusting downward while remaining inside the No-dong-A performance envelop? If there was no telemetry monitored it came back in the recoverable re-entry vehicle package similar to the Chinese way to recover data from their strategic ballistic missile systems flight tests. If North Korean “bi-static intercept” radar deception operations were still being conducted they could have masqueraded the operation even more to the allies. This question continues to linger on whether North Korea carried out such a test in addition to many other unanswered questions on these flight tests.

Trends Suggested At Variance Intelligence Assessment

Preliminary indications are assuming that if one of the last two flight test were the No-dong-B from North Korea suggested by South Korea and the previous No-dong-B flight test out of Iran may have proven the common Iranian, North Korean ICBM “re-entry vehicle” and “warhead fusing mechanisms” viability with two or three apparently successful flight tests in a row. Newly re-reviewed evidence appears to suggest that the last two missiles flight tested July 5, 2006 thought to initially be Scud-ER variants now appear to be potentially the second and third flight test of the Shahab-4/No-dong-B/Mirim 3,000-4,000 kilometers range IRBM or No-dong-A flights. (23) The last two of seven test flights were in the final report tentatively assessed as being No-dong-A flight test pending further review of the information still on going through 2006 and early 2007. All the data released so far indicates real problems on the part of all three communities even when combining all the all source data available in analyzing the flights flown and identifying the vehicles flown.

Trend Suggested At Variance Analysis

Several US government officials along with the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld have stated that the North Koreans have not successfully tested an ICBM to full range with a warhead. This is true but the North Koreans do not have a traditional fully instrumented ICBM range as does Russia and the U. S. in order to evaluate the “re-entry vehicle” performance and it’s “warhead fusing mechanisms”. But the DPRK does have shorter ranges that have already been used. If it is assumed that the last two missile flight tests of North Korea seven flights were the No-dong-B of three suspected flights. If this is correct then they have now run the reentry test three times utilizing the No-dong-B with the last two flown off the DPRK coast on steep ballistic trajectories rising perhaps as much as between 1,000-2,000 kilometers high and powered return over a 420 kilometers range ground track. The Iranian, North Korean first No-dong-B suspected flight test on January 17, 2006 went some 3,000-3,218 kilometers down range into the Indian Ocean and could have gone 4,000 kilometers. “The USAF used a similar approach for Re-entry Vehicle (RV) and fusing mechanisms development flight from Green River, Utah to White Sands Missile Range, NM and from Wallops FF, VA out in the Atlantic. Like the Air Force launches they could achieve ICBM-like re-entry conditions by pointing the vehicle back down while still under thrust.” (30) There should be little wonder why the North Koreans and Iranians are reportedly satisfied with the flight test results in spite of the launch failure of the Taep’o-dong-2 class booster satellite launch.

Presumably the ICBM re-entry vehicle and fusing mechanisms flight testing was the precise purpose of those last two or three flight test of the No-dong-B by North Korea with the Common Iranian, North Korean re-entry warhead design configuration indicating how far they have perhaps advanced.

Common North Korean, Iranian Re-entry Vehicle Design Heritage Trends

The North Korean’s certainly got the plan form for the SS-N-6/SS-NX-13 missile from MIASS and greatly improved it but also got the plan form for the re-entry vehicle but not necessarily the warhead device type. There are definite differences in the present RV from older design SS-N-6/SS-NX-13 reflecting the more advanced RV designs of the Soviets/Russians that the sanctioned NIIGRAFIT, Grafit Research Institute – The State Scientific Research Institute of Graphite, company of Moscow were involved. They were involved in providing the ablative asbestos graphite composite board coatings materials and forming manufacturing technology for the new Icononic re-entry vehicle seen deployed and flight test on the Iranian Shahab-3B/ER MRBM.. Developing the conventional none nuclear proximity fused firecracker warhead with the provided RV is easy verse the nuclear gun type much less the plutonium implosion type nuclear warhead which is a whole different ball of wax to sculpt. The Makayev OKB, MIASS was not privy to the nuclear device design except for the interface, mass & cabling design requirements of the RV. That was ultimately handled by a separate Soviet/Russian nuclear industry organization in the area with only the RV/missile interface requirements being provided by MIASS. The policy at the time was not to provide nuclear weapons design but the North Koreans got at least nine nuclear scientists which could have seriously impacted that area of the technology transfer besides the in excess of seventeen rocket scientists.

However based on open sources analysis which is fully documented it is apparent that the telemetry seen received or captured from the Shahab-3B launches and the Shahab-4/No-dong-B launches appear to be of the same format indicating they are using the same equipment guidance, accelerometers, command control data processors and that it is extremely difficult to separate which missile is which. The only way to separate them is through the radar tracking performance, if they really perform to full capability, but that is not two data points that is only one in both cases which leaves a large area of uncertainty. Further that is subject to deception IE make Shahab-4 perform like the Shahab-3B/ER or No-dong-A fore shorting or redirecting its true performance capability. The Shahab-4/No-dong-B flight test out of Iran of January 17, 2006 is the only flight test yet to be identified as having taken place based on the 3,000 kilometer performance which far exceeded the Shahab-3B/ER 2,000 kilometer capability. Some of those flights in July 2006 out of North Korea may literally have gone off the scope so you are left with the realization that they could have done a propulsion driven ICBM like re-entry test like the US conducted with in the No-dong-A performance parameters. The exception being that if we know the potential nominal performance of the suggested missile how would one do a reentry test using that propulsion IE the time between the radar loss of the target to its reacquisition of the vehicle could indicate the ballistic profile for a No-dong-A test but may have been a No-dong-B propulsion driven re-entry test that we totally missed. This could also apply to a Scud–C or Scud-ER test disguise for this case but less likely. Whether the intelligence people of the US-(USN & NSA and USAF, Army) much less the South Koreans or the Japanese intelligence organizations have the information to check this if they even recognize this potential deception is uncertain to say the least and this is why I remain unsatisfied and very suspicious with the present end product analysis of all sides involved.

Although No-dong-A of Iran and Pakistan carried the conical Chinese heritage nuclear warhead re-entry vehicle (RV) design received from China by technology transfer to Pakistan it was not the RV design of choice for accuracy. This is why we see the second generation Shahab-3B/ER RV is so significant besides the long range nuclear suggestion. The late 2003 earlier 2004 observation of the No-dong-B, Re-entry Vehicle (RV) with its “top of a baby bottle-neck” nose cone design description which allowed the U. S intelligence community to recognize the SS-N-6/SS-NX-13 origin of the new IRBM Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile system. This along with the subsequent appearance of the Iranian Shahab-3B/ER with its “baby bottle-neck” nose cone design reflected a commonality not immediately anticipated. The facts that both countries had their RV’s designs described separately in the same way profoundly suggest that their tested, operational nuclear weapon system is one and the same. When applying the known Shahab-3B/ER, RV design to the No-dong-B it was found that it fitted with the known propulsion performance design constraints of the rocket stage. Circumstantially this result can not be ignored much less dismissed.

The current indicated mass of 650 kilograms is based on the Soviet era heritage SS-N-6/SS-NX-13 capability for both the No-dong-B and Shahab-3B/ER which appear to have the same nuclear warhead prototype RV design. Believing the RV is a nuclear warhead prototype and proving it are two very different worlds. The design of the No-dong-B and Shahab-3B/ER, RV certainly indicates the expected standardized nuclear RV warhead design. It also indicates that they have mastered the technology for reducing the size of the nuclear device with in the RV’s airframe but does not prove that it is a nuclear warhead. Proving the RV’s potential nuclear lethality is no easy task requiring radiation sensing as well as atmospheric sampling of the emitted gaseous vapors. The question is why develop such a RV but for a nuclear warhead as all previous nations have done that possess nuclear weapons technology for weapons production? The Missile and RV programs have outpaced the warhead fuel program but not the warhead nuclear device design program which is in hand and has been for some time now. Countries do not produce missiles to travel over thousands of kilometers to deliver mere “Fire Cracker” conventional high energy explosive warhead weapons unless they are intended to carry primarily nuclear, or chemical, biological weapons. The advances in the missile launch vehicle and re-entry vehicle program do mirror the advances in the parallel nuclear weapons program of the larger total weapons program. Generally speaking no country makes the investment up to the threshold of actually having nuclear weapons with out completing the process.


1-23., N. Korea May Have Tested New Longer-Range Missiles, Digital Chosun Ilbo , July.18, 2006 08:33 KST

2-30. Private correspondence between C. P. Vick & Wayne Eleazer, Cape Canaveral , FL Friday, July 28, 2006, 3:57 PM, and Friday, July 28, 2006 8:42 PM , Subject: Re: Taepodong Launch.

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