The Hwasong-5 is a North Korean short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). It is the DPRK variant of the Soviet-produced ‘Scud B‘, which North Korea purchased from Egypt and reverse engineered.1
Hwasong-5 at a Glance
- Originated from
- North Korea
- Alternate names
- Possessed by
- North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen
- 10.94 m
- 0.88 m
- Launch weight
- 5,860 kg
- Single warhead
- 985 kg HE, potential chemical, biological, submunition payloads
- Single-stage, liquid-fueled
- 300 km
- In service
North Korea began developing the Hwasong-5 in 1981 after importing Soviet-built ‘Scud B’ missiles from Egypt, and began flight tests in 1984. Compared to the Scud-B, the Hwasong-5 incorporates minor changes to the airframe, motor and guidance system. It can be launched from a North Korean-built copy of the Russian MAZ 543 ‘Scud B’ Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle or from converted commercial trucks.
The North Korean Hwasong-5 has a length of 10.94 m, a diameter of 0.88 m, and a launch weight of 5,860 kg. Its payload carries a single warhead that can either be 985 kg HE, chemical, biological or submunitions. It has a range of 300 km (186 miles) with an accuracy of 450 m CEP. It uses a single-stage liquid propellant engine.2
The warheads on the North Korean Hwasong-5 are likely high-explosive, but the fitment of chemical, biological, and submunition payloads is possible. The relatively short range of the Scud design makes it unlikely that North Korea will equip it with a nuclear warhead, but the system may be capable of accommodating a nuclear payload. These systems are road mobile and well hidden in the mountainous terrain of North Korea. These missiles can easily reach one of North Korea’s potentially main targets, Seoul, South Korea. As their limited accuracy restricts their use to targeting civilian population centers, this is likely to be the extent of their employment.
The Hwasong-5 entered active service in 1986. The North Koreans have built an estimated total of 300 Hwasong-5 missiles as well as several mobile launch systems, ending production in 1991 or 1992.3 A 2006 report estimated the total number of Hwasong-5/6/7 missiles around 600.4
North Korea has been one of the primary nations for missile proliferation and it is believed that it has exported or planned to export Hwasong-5 to Republic of Congo, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, Syria, UAE, Vietnam, and Yemen. Specifically, reports indicate that there were some 120 Hwasong-5 missiles and several mobile launchers exported to Iran, as well as the setup of a manufacturing facility.5 Iran’s Scud B variant is known as the Shahab-1.
- Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., “A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK,” Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, 1999, http://cns.miis.edu/opapers/op2/op2.pdf
- “Scud B’ variant (Hwasong 5),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 61.
- “CNS Special Report on North Korean Ballistic Missile Capabilities,” Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, March 22, 2006, http://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/0623.pdf.
- Jane’s Strategic, 61.