Hwasong-7 (‘Scud ER’ Variant)

The Hwasong-7 (‘Scud ER’ variant) is a North Korean short-range ballistic missile, an extended range version of North Korea’s Hwasong-6. The  Hwasong-7 has a demonstrated range of around 1,000 km, but without knowing the payload weight during its testing, it is unclear the size or type of warhead the Hwasong-7 could deliver at those distances. It is believed that North Korean engineers accomplished this increased performance by enlarging the fuel and oxidant tanks along with a slight enlargement of the missile fuselage. A reduction in payload weight could also explain some of the missile’s further reach.

Hwasong-7 at a Glance

Originated From: North Korea
Possessed By: North Korea, Syria
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Basing: Road-mobile
Length: 13.5 m
Diameter: 0.88 m
Launch Weight: 6,400 kg
Payload: Single warhead 500 kg
Warhead: Chemical, HE or submunitions
Propulsion: Single-stage liquid propellant
Range: 800 km – 1,000 km
Status: Operational
In Service: 1994

hwasong-7
The Hwasong-7 is 13.5 m in length, 0.88 m in diameter, and has a launch weight of 6,400 kg. The single warhead can be chemical, HE or submunitions. It uses a single-stage liquid propellant engine, and has an accuracy of 3,000 m CEP.1

Development of the Hwasong-7 reportedly began in 1991. The first flight test occurred in 1993, but the similarity to the Hwasong-6 system makes confirmation challenging. North Korean production could have started as early as 1994, though the extent of internal production is unknown. Further flight tests of North Korea’s Scud’s may have occurred in 2006, 2009, and 2014 but the subtle differences between the country’s variants makes confirmation of the exact missile used for each launch difficult to decipher. Some have suggested that these tests may have been of the longer range ‘Scud Extended Range’ missile with the capability of increasing the range to 800-1,000 km due to a smaller payload size.

Syria, in particular, appears to be the main recipient of the Hwasong-7. A possible Syrian flight test of a Hwasong-7 in 2000 suggests that missiles may have been transferred from North Korea, or that missiles parts were transferred and later assembled domestically. A 2006 report estimated the total number of Hwasong-5/6/7 missiles around 600.2

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Sources

  1. “‘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.
  2. “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