The KN-02 is a short-range, solid-fueled, road-mobile ballistic missile. It is believed to be 6.4 m in length, 0.65 m in diameter, and has a launch weight of 2,010 kg. It can carry a payload of 485 kg holding HE, chemical, and submunition warheads.2
Though Russian engineers have been able to equip the OTR-21 missiles with 100kT nuclear warheads, it does not seem likely that North Korea would be able to do the same for quite some time. The KN-02 is believed to have a range of about 120 km, almost double the distance of a traditional OTR-21 missile. This can be explained in variety of ways, such as reducing payload size, or making some minor alterations to the various internal systems. There are reports from South Korea that the range of the missile has increased to 170 km due to upgrades to the system. 3 The guidance system is inertial with an optical correlation system in the terminal phase, a combination that probably yields an accuracy near 100 m CEP. 4
KN-02 at a Glance
Possessed By: North Korea
Alternate Name: Toska, Doska, OTY-21 Tochka (SS-21 ‘Scarab’ variant)
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Length: 6.4 m
Diameter: 0.65 m
Launch Weight: 2,010 kg
Payload: Single warhead, 250 or 485 kg
Warhead: HE, chemical or sub-munitions
Propulsion: Solid propellant
Range: 120-170 km
In Service: 2006
Of note, the KN-02 is a solid fuel missile. This is significant when comparing the rocket to the rest of North Korea’s missile arsenal, most of which are made up of liquid-fueled missiles. Generally, solid fuel rockets are easier to maintain and mobilize. Additionally, there is often increased operability of solid fueled missiles during its flight, resulting in a more accurate system.
The first missile test, in April 2004, was a failure. Since 2004, the KN-02 has been tested at least 20 times, achieving an initial operating capability in the 2006 to 2008-time frame. 5 North Korea displayed the missile aboard a TEL for the first time publicly during a military parade in April 2007. 6 In 2014, a report stated that North Korea had 100 KN-02’s with a range of 170 km in its missile stockpile. 7 It is likely that the overall stockpile of KN-02’s, to include missiles of lesser range, is much higher.
- See Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., “The KN-02 SRBM,” KPA Journal 1, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 11; “KN-02 (SS-21 ‘Scarab variant),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 55; http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/207549/dprk-missile-rocket-launches/
- “KN-02 (SS-21 ‘Scarab variant),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 56; http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/207549/dprk-missile-rocket-launches/
- “KN-02 (SS-21 ‘Scarab variant),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 56
- See “KN-02 (SS-21 ‘Scarab variant),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 55; Jeffrey Lewis, “DPRK Missile, Rocket Launches,” Arms Control Wonk, February 10, 2015, http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/207549/dprk-missile-rocket-launches/
- Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., “The KN-02 SRBM,” KPA Journal 1, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 7.
- Kin Eun-jung “N. Korea has 11 KN-02 missiles with extended range,” Yonhap News Agency, March 5, 2014, http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2014/03/05/99/0200000000AEN20140305002300315F.html