Military/Intelligence Bulletin 1/2018 – North Korean Missile Threat.

Military/Intelligence Bulletin 1/2018 – North Korean Missile Threat.

What is North Korea’s current missile capability?

North Korea’s increasingly frequent missile tests are signalling their improving capability in the region and sending warning signals to the US and its Allies, in the main South Korea and Japan.


The KN-02 Toska, is a North Korean reverse-engineered locally produced short-range ballistic missile, provided by the Soviet Union via Syria. No serious threat to South Korea, Japan or the US a range  of less than 200km.

Photo-credit. Created by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies for the Nuclear Threat Initiative.


Scud-B, a tactical ballistic missile developed by the Soviet Union. North Korea obtained its first Scud-B’s from Egypt in 1979/80. Again reverse-engineered, then reproduced at the 125 factory at Pyongyang and the research and development institute at Sanum-dong and the Musudan-ri launch facility. Known as the Hwasong-6, and with a range of up to 300km, this does pose a threat to South Korea.


The Hwasong-6, a modified Scud-C, has a much greater range, 500km. With this range, it is capable of just reaching the coast of Japan.


The Hwasong-7, an Extended Range Scud on the other hand, launched by the North Korean’s on the 6 March 2017, with a range of 1,000km, went beyond the coast of Japan. For the first time, the Iwakuni air base in western Japan was in range of North Korean missiles.

The Nodong1 and Pukgeuksong 2 increased the range further to 1,700km.


The Hwasong-12, launched on the 28th August 2018, changed the game completely. With a range of 2,700km, it was only a few hundred kilometres short of Guam, an unincorporated and organised territory of the United States.

A further Hwasong-12 missile was launched on 14th September 2017, reaching a staggering 3,700km, well beyond the island of Guam.


Image credit – Rodong Sinmun

In November 2017, the Hwasong-15 ballistic missile was launched and reached a ceiling of just under 5,000km, theoretically capable of reaching the United States mainland.

The pace of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programme continues along with the rhetoric behind it. Although progress continues, North Korea’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are still under development and their is still some doubt about the credibility of their nuclear deterrent.

Post copyrighted to Harvey Black

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