Haeseong III

The Haeseong III is a supersonic, precision-guided, submarine-launched land-attack cruise missile. It is the third variant developed within South Korea’s Haeseong cruise missile series, and has a range of approximately 1,500 km. It entered operational service in 2013.

Haeseong III at a Glance

Originated from: South Korea
Possessed by: South Korea
Class: Supersonic land-attack cruise missile
Basing: Submarine-based
Length: 5.5 m
Diameter: 0.45 m
Launch weight: 700 kg
Payload: Single warhead, unknown warhead weight
Propulsion: Turbojet engine
Range: 1,500 km
Speed: 830 m/s
Status: Operational
In service: 2013-present

Haeseong III Development

haeseong iiiThe South Korean Defense Ministry officially unveiled the Haeseong III on February 14, 2013, two days after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test.1 The third variant in the Haeseong missile series, it was developed to equip South Korean submarines with greater precision strike capability. The Haeseong III can reportedly be employed as both a land-attack and antiship weapon.2 The missile was developed by the state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD) and defense firm LIG Nex1.


Reports indicate that the Haeseong III has a range of 1,500 km, and is highly accurate with a circular error probability (CEP) of 1-3 m.3 It uses a turbojet engine, allowing for supersonic speeds up to 830 m/s. 4 The missile is launched from the submarine’s torpedo tube, thus allowing it to equip submarines that do not have the more advanced vertical launch systems. The waterproof capsule that encases the missile travels to the surface, and opens for a ‘cold launch’ ejection.5 A cold-launch system uses compressed gas to propel the missile out of the launcher before its own engines ignite.

Service History

The Haeseong III entered operational service in 2013. It currently equips South Korea’s 1,800-ton Son Won II-class (KSS-2 or Type 214) submarines, and is scheduled to equip ROK’s developing 3,000-ton KSS-3 submarines.6

    1. “S. Korea Unveils Homegrown Cruise Missiles,” The Chosun Ilbo, February 15, 2013, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/02/15/2013021501154.html.
    2. Zachary Keck, “South Korea Launches Fifth 1,800-Ton Submarine,” The Diplomat, July 4, 2014, http://thediplomat.com/2014/07/south-korea-launches-fifth-1800-ton-submarine/; KH디지털2, “S. Korea launches new attack submarine,” The Korea Herald, May 7, 2015, http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150507000256&ACE_SEARCH=1.
    3. “S. Korea Unveils Homegrown Cruise Missiles,” The Chosun Ilbo, February 15, 2013, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2013/02/15/2013021501154.html; Keck, The Diplomat.
    4. “Design Characteristics of South Korea’s Ballistic and Cruise Missiles,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, November 2014, http://www.nti.org/media/pdfs/design_characteristics_of_south_korea_missiles.pdf?_=1415661529; Chosun Ilbo, “S. Korea Unveils Homegrown Cruise Missiles.”
    5. Chosun Ilbo, “S. Korea Unveils Homegrown Cruise Missiles.”
    6. Bradley Perrett, “South Korea May Be Working On Ballistic Weapon For Submarines,” Aviation Week, October 28, 2016, http://aviationweek.com/defense/south-korea-may-be-working-ballistic-weapon-submarines.