The Hwasong-6 is the North Korean-produced variant of the Russian ‘Scud C’ and is a short-range ballistic missile. It has been in service with the DRPK rocket force since 1992.
Hwasong-6 at a Glance
- Originated from
- North Korea
- Alternate names
- Possessed by
- North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen
- Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
- 10.94 m
- 0.88 m
- Launch weight
- 6,095 kg
- Single warhead, 700 – 770 kg
- HE, chemical, biological, nuclear
- Single-stage, liquid propellant
- 500 km
- In service
Hwasong-6 Development & Specificaitons
North Korea began development of the missile began around 1984, with initial production in starting in 1989, and reached peak production rate in the early 1990s. Analysts estimate that North Korea was producing between 50 to 100 missiles per year during this period.1 The missile is likely out of production.
The Hwasong-6 has a range of 500 km from its single-stage, liquid-propellant engine. It measures 10.94 m in length and 0.88 m in diameter. However, it has a slightly heavier launch weight of 6,095 kg and it has a reduced payload size of 700-770 kg compared to the Hwasong-5’s 985 kg. It is capable of carrying conventional high explosive warheads, or a variety of weapons of mass disctructions including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Its accuracy is estimated to be 1,000 m circular error probable.2
Estimates on North Korea’s Hwasong-6 inventory ranges between 200-400 Hwasong-6 missiles. 3 A 2006 report estimated the total number of Hwasong-5/6/7 missiles around 600.4 It is likely, however, that North Korea has significantly more Scud-type missiles than it has launchers to transport and fire them. A 2020 U.S. intelligence report, for example, assessed North Korea as possessing fewer than 100 Hwasong 5/6 launchers.5
Like the Hwasong-5, the DPRK has exported the Hwasong-6 has been highly proliferated. According to various reports, North Korea may have exported as many as 400 Hwasong-6 missiles to Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, and Yemen. These reports include:
- Iran is reported to have purchased 60 missiles in 1991. Iran eventually reached the ability to indigenously produce ‘Scud C’ variants — known in Iran as the Shahab 2.
- Libya reportedly bought Hwasong-6 missiles in 1993. In 2004, Libya sent five of these missiles with two MAZ 543 TELs to the U.S.
- Syria began receiving Hwasong-6 missiles from North Korea in 1991 and from Libya starting in 1993. The Syrians later reached production capability of the ‘Scud C’ variant.
- Egypt allegedly received Hwasong-6 related technology and components in the late 1990s
- Vietnam reportedly ordered Hwasong-6 missiles from North Korea in 1998-1999. It is unclear if this deal was fulfilled.
- Iraq was allegedly attracted to the Hwasong-6 missiles in 2001, hoping to purchase around 200 missiles. It is also unclear if this deal was fulfilled.
- Yemen may have received up to 25 Hwasong-6 missiles in 2002 6
North Korea has conducted numerous flight tests of its Scud variants. Noteworthy launches occurred in 2006, 2009, and 2014. The similarities between the country’s Scud variants can make confirmation of the exact missile type flown during tests difficult to determine.
- “‘Scud C’ variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 63.
- Scud C variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 63.
- “‘Scud C’ variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 62; Duyeon Kim, “Fact Sheet: North Korea’s Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Programs,” The Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, July 1, 2013, http://armscontrolcenter.org/fact-sheet-north-koreas-nuclear-and-ballistic-missile-programs/.
- “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
- Defense Intelligence Agency Ballstic Missile Analysis Committee, Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat (National Air and Space Intelligience Center, 2021), 21, https://www.nasic.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Article/2468137/2020-ballistic-and-cruise-missile-threat/.
- “‘Scud C’ variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 63; 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.