The KN-06 (Pon’gae-5) is a North Korean surface-to-air missile. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un declared the KN-06 weapons system operationally capable following a test on May 28, 2017.
KN-06 (Pon’gae-5) at a Glance
- Originated from
- North Korea
- Alternate names
- Possessed by
- North Korea
- Surface-to-air missile
- 6.8 – 7.25 m
- 0.45 – 0.50 m
- Solid propellant
- High-explosive blast-fragmentation
- In service
- May 28, 2017
In the early 2000s, North Korea began efforts to obtain advanced air defense systems to replace aging fleet of S-200 surface-to-air missiles.1 After a protracted acquisition period, Pyongyang first displayed the KN-06 during a military parade on October 10, 2010.2
It is unclear how North Korea acquired the requisite technology for the KN-06. Given the KN-06’s sudden emergence and visual similarities to Russia’s S-300P and China’s HQ-9/FT-2000 systems, analysts have suspected that North Korea acquired the weapon through technology transfers with Russia or China. The KN-06 system’s missile body, phased-array radar, and truck-based transporter erector launcher (TEL) bear close resemblance to existing Russian systems. 3 Notably, the manufacturer of Russia’s air defense transporter-erector-launchers, KAMAZ, entered a joint production agreement with North Korea in 2007, constructing a plant in the North Korean city of Pyeongseong.4
North Korea has conducted three known flight tests of the KN-06 since its service introduction. In June 2011, South Korean news outlet Chosun Ilbo reported a successful test of a short-range missile, believed to be the KN-06, that flew 150 km before landing in the sea off North Korea’s western coast.5
On April 2, 2016, North Korean state media released images of Kim Jong Un attending a second flight test of the weapons system. Following a third test on May 28, 2017, Kim Jong-un declared that the missile had become operationally capable after “perfectly overcoming” defects identified in previous tests.6
The KN-06, also known as the Pon’gae-5, is a road-mobile surface-to-air missile system. Based on the system’s similarities with the Russian S-300 and Chinese HQ-9/FT-2000, the KN-06 interceptor likely measures between 6.8 and 7.25 m in length, is .466 to .514 m in diameter, and weighs approximately 1300 to 1700 kg.7 South Korean media reports and the KN-06’s resemblance to the Russian S-300 could indicate a range of up to 150 km, which seems to be supported by the system’s performance in tests.
The KN-06 incorporates two Taepaekasan-96 6×6 trucks (a renamed or kit-assembled KAMAZ 55111 chassis) to transport the missile’s launch tubes and targeting radar. The KN-06 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) can apparently fit up to three launch canisters.8 The KN-06’s targeting radar closely resembles Russia’s 5N63 “Flap Lid” radar, an X-band, phased-array radar employed in the Russian S-300P air defense system.9
Based on the number of truck assembly kits KAMAZ exported to North Korea, Pyongyang could produce as many as 156 KN-06 TELs.10 Like the foreign S-300P and HQ-9 systems, a KN-06 battery likely consists of one command post, one radar, and three to four TELs.11
Kim Jong-un declared the KN-06 operational on May 28, 2017. Analysts suspects that North Korea may have deployed the system on several man-made islands near its missile development sites in Sohae.12
- “NAPSNet Daily Report 07 February, 2001”, Daily Report NAPSNet, February 07, 2001, https://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-daily-report/napsnet-daily-report-07-february-2001/.
- Ankit Panda, “North Korea Declares KN-06 Surface-to-Air Missile Operational After Successful Test,” The Diplomat, May 29, 2017, http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/north-korea-declares-kn-06-surface-to-air-missile-system-operational-after-successful-test/.
- Kyle Mizokami, “A North Korean Mystery: Where Did its Rockets and Missiles Come From?” The National Interest, June 17, 2017, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/north-korean-mystery-where-did-its-rockets-missiles-come-21202; Richard D. Fisher, “North Korea KN-06 test confirms similarity to Chinese and Russian fourth-generation SAMS,” IHS Jane’s 360, April 6, 2016, Web Archive, https://web.archive.org/web/20160415190435/http://www.janes.com/article/59282/north-korean-kn-06-test-confirms-similarity-to-chinese-and-russian-fourth-generation-sams; Elizabeth Shim, “Russian-built trucks replicated for North Korea parade,” United Press International, April 19, 2017, https://www.upi.com/Russia-built-trucks-replicated-for-North-Korea-parade/1841492654916/.
- Fisher 2016.
- “North Korea Successfully Test-Fired Short Range Missile,” Chosun Ilbo, June 14, 2011, http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/06/14/2011061400518.html.
- Tyler Rogoway, “North Korea says KN 06 SAM System Ready for Production After Successful Test,” The Drive, May 28, 2017, http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/10761/north-korea-says-kn-06-sam-system-ready-for-production-after-successful-test.
- “S300P” in IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery and Air Defense 2012-2013, ed. Christopher Foss and James C. O’Halloran (IHS: United Kingdom, 2012), 511; “HQ-9/FT-2000,” in IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery and Air Defense 2012-2013, ed. Christopher Foss and James C. O’Halloran (IHS: United Kingdom, 2012), 428.
- Chosun Ilbo.
- Fisher, 2016.
- Office of the Secretary to Defense, Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2012, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/Report_to_Congress_on_Military_and_Security_Developments_Involving_the_DPRK.pdf.
- Damen Cook, “North Korea’s Mysterious New Islands,” The Diplomat, May 1, 2017, http://thediplomat.com/2017/05/north-koreas-mysterious-new-islands/.