Due to the growing obsolescence of North Korea’s conventional military capabilities, North Korea has pivoted towards a national security strategy based on asymmetric capabilities and weapons of mass destruction. As such, it has invested heavily in the development of increasingly longer range ballistic missiles, and the miniaturization of its nascent nuclear weapons stockpile. North Korea is reliant on these capabilities to hold U.S., allied forces, and civilian areas at risk. North Korea’s short- and medium-range systems include a host of artillery and short-range rockets, including its legacy Scud missiles, No-Dong systems, and a newer mobile solid-fueled SS-21 variant called the KN-02. North Korea has also made strides towards long-range missile technology under the auspices of its Unha (Taepo-Dong 2) space launch program, with which it has demonstrated an ability to put crude satellites into orbit. North Korea has displayed two other long-range ballistic missiles, the KN-08 and KN-14, which it claims have the ability to deliver nuclear weapons to U.S. territory, but thus far these missiles have not been flight tested. North Korea’s ballistic missile program was one of the primary motives by the decision to develop and deploy the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse system for defense of the United States homeland.
|KN-11||SLBM||900 km||In Development||49|
|BM-25 Musudan||IRBM||2,500-4,000 km||In Development||51|
|KN-08||ICBM||5,500-11,500 km||In Development||53|
|KN-14||ICBM||8,000-10,000 km||In Development||54|
|Taepodong-2||ICBM / SLV||4,000-15,000 km||Operational||55|
North Korea Missile Testing
- Analysis of DRPK nuclear and missile testing from the CSIS Korea Chair’s microsite Beyond Parallel: