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KN-08

Intermediate-range ballistic missile

KN-08

The KN-08 is believed to be intermediate range or even intercontinental ballistic missile

 
 
Country of origin North Korea
Entered service 2012 (?)
Missile
Missile length 17.5 ~ 19.7 m
Missile diameter 1.5 ~ 2 m
Missile weight ?
Warhead weight ?
Warhead type Nuclear
Range of fire ~ 6 000 km
CEP ?
Mobility
Engine Cummins KTTA19-C700 diesel
Engine power 700 hp
Maximum road speed ~ 60 km/h
Range ~ 1 000 km

 

   The North Korean KN-08 is also referred as Rodong-B, No-Dong-C or Hwasong-13. The KN-08 is the name used by Western intelligence. It is believed to be intermediate-range ballistic missile, or even intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It is similar in size to the Russian Topol-M road mobile ICBM. This missile was first publicly revealed in 2012. At that time some sources even suggested that the KN-08 is not a real development program, but rather a mock-up, designed to confuse Western intelligence. So initially the actual status of this missile was uncertain. In 2016 there were two unsuccessful tests of the KN-08. This missile was first successfully tested in 2017.

   During the last decade North Korea made impressive steps in missile developments. Recently numerous ballistic missiles with various ranges and capabilities emerged there. This could not have been done without technology sourced from Russia, China, and, possibly, Ukraine.

   The KN-08 could have a range of up to 6 000 km, or possibly more. Some sources assume that the KN-08 is actually an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of up to 11 500 km. This ballistic missile carries a single nuclear warhead.

   It appears that North Korea is investing in road mobile ballistic missiles. Typically these are more difficult to destroy than silo-based missiles or fixed missile launch sites. Once on high alert the road mobile launcher vehicles with missiles can leave their bases and operate undetected in remote areas of the country.

   The launcher vehicle is based on Chinese Wanshan WS51200 special wheeled chassis with 16x12 configuration. This chassis has been developed by Wanshan Special Vehicle company, possibly using technology from Belarusian Minsk Automobile Plant. It was specially designed as a road-mobile Trantporter Erector Launher (TEL) for intercontinental ballistic missiles and has a payload capacity of 80 000 kg. Vehicle is powered by Cummins KTTA19-C700 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 700 hp. It is a commercially available industrial engine. Engine is mounted behind and under the cab. It is mated with a ZF automatic transmission. This special wheeled chassis has some degree of cross-country mobility. Though it is mainly intended to operate on hard surface roads.

   In 2011 China exported a total of 8 Wanshan WS51200 vehicles to North Korea. Officially these vehicles were delivered as a lumber transport in order to overcome arms control treaties. North Koreans locally converted these vehicles into missile launchers by installing hydraulic gear and controls to erect the missile.

   Some sources suggest, that due to TEL and missile design the TEL will be damaged by rocket exhaust. Similar Russian and Chinese TELs carry and launch missiles from special containers. This makes the North Korean TEL a single-use launcher. This assumption was proven in 2017 when the first successful launch of the KN-08 missile was made. The launcher vehicle just erected the missile with the launch pad to its launch position and left the launch site. However once the missile is launched the launcher could be reloaded with another missile.

 

Variants

 

   KN-08 Mod.2 is a modified version, first displayed in 2015. Sometimes it is referred as KN-14. This missile is smaller and has 2 stages rather than 3. It uses engines similar to those of the Soviet R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile (Western designation SS-N-6 Serb). The same engines are also used on the older North Korean Hwasong-10 intermediate-range ballistic missile, that is also known under the names BM-25 and Musudan. Some sources report that this missile might have a range of up to 9 900 km. However its real range could be much shorter. The KN-08 Mod.2 a has rounded nose cone. It could be an indication that the missile carries multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles.

   In 2017 a new containerized missile system was first publicly revealed in North Korea. The missile is carried in a special container by a slightly modified 8-axle launcher. This new TEL can launch the missile without being damaged by rocket exhaust.

 

Video of the KN-08 ballistic missile

 
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