Missiles of North Korea

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Due to the growing obsolescence of North Korea’s conventional military capabilities, North Korea has for decades relied on a national security strategy based on asymmetric capabilities and weapons of mass destruction. Pyongyang has invested heavily in the development of increasingly long-range ballistic missiles and the miniaturization of its nascent nuclear weapons stockpile. North Korea uses these capabilities to hold military forces and population centers at risk to deter external threats to the Kim family regime.

North Korea’s short- and medium-range systems include a host of artillery and short-range rockets, including its legacy Scud-based and No-Dong missiles. In 2019, North Korea tested a range of new short-range, solid-fueled missiles such as the KN-23 and KN-25.

North Korea has also made strides towards long-range missile technology, testing for the first time an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-14, in July 2017. This was followed by a test of a heavier ICBM design, the Hwasong-15, in November 2017. North Korea developed some of this technology under the auspices of its Unha (Taepo-Dong 2) space launch program, which it has used to put crude satellites into orbit. North Korea has displayed two other long-range ballistic missiles, the KN-08 and KN-14, but thus far these missiles have not been flight-tested, and it is unclear whether they are still active development programs.

North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile program was one of the primary motives for the decision to develop and deploy the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense System to protect the U.S. homeland.


Missile Name Class Range Status
BM-25 Musudan IRBM 2,500 - 4,000 km In Development
Hwasong-12 IRBM 4,500 km In Development
Hwasong-13 ICBM 5,500 - 11,500 km Never Deployed
Hwasong-14 ICBM 10,400 km Operational
Hwasong-15 ICBM 8,500 - 13,000 km In Development
Hwasong-5 SRBM 300 km Operational
Hwasong-6 SRBM 500 km Operational
Hwasong 7 (Nodong 1) MRBM 1,200 - 1,500 km Operational
Hwasong-9 MRBM 800 - 1,000 km Operational
KN-01 ASCM 110 - 160 km Operational
KN-02 (Toksa) SRBM 120 - 170 km Operational
KN-06 (Pon’gae-5) SAM 150 km Operational
KN-09 (KN-SS-9) MLRS 200 km In Development
KN-18 (Scud MaRV) SRBM 450+ km In Development
KN-23 SRBM 450 km Unknown
KN-24 SRBM 410 km In Development
KN-25 SRBM 380 km Operational
Koksan M1978 Artillery 40 - 60 km Operational
Kumsong-3 (KN-19) ASCM 130 - 250 km Likely operational
M1985/M1991 MLRS 40 - 60 km Operational
Pukguksong-1 (KN-11) SLBM 1,200 km In Development
Pukguksong-2 (KN-15) MRBM 1,200 - 2,000 km Operational
Pukguksong-3 (KN-26) SLBM 1,900 km Operational
Taepodong-1 IRBM 2,000 - 5,000 km Obsolete
Taepodong-2 (Unha-3) SLV 4,000 - 10,000 km Operational

See database: North Korea Missile Launches: 1984-Present