KN-14 (KN-08 Mod 2)

On October 10, 2015, North Korea unveiled a potentially new ICBM, dubbed the KN-14. Alhtough many analysts regard it to be a variation of the previously displayed KN-08 ICBM, there are differences between the two.

KN-14 at a Glance

Originated From: North Korea
Possessed By: North Korea
Class: Intercontinental-range ballistic missile (MRBM)
Basing: Road-mobile
Length: ~17 m
Diameter: 1.5-2 m
Propulsion: Liquid-fueled
Range: 8,000-10,000 km
Status: In development

KN-14Compared to KN-08, the KN-14, is a slightly shorter, with a blunt and rounded nose cone. Due to the lack of evidence to analyze, it is unclear if the KN-14 is a three- or two-staged missile, but some analysts suggest the latter to be more likely.1

According to analysis by 38 North, the KN-14’s robust design has the potential of a 50-60% reliability, whereas it is estimated that the KN-08 would operate only 30-40% of the time.2

Similar to the KN-08, the design of KN-14 appears comes from the Soviet-era R-27/SS-N-6 missiles. This seemed to be confirmed during the liquid-fueled engine test on April 9, 2016. While there is no video footage, images released of the test appear to show a pair of clustered 4D10 engines, which are used on the R-27.3 The images display the engines, embedded within a fuel tank fitted for an ICBM, spitting out bright orange exhaust, which is indicative of a highly efficient fuel called unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine (UDMH). The use of such fuel could increase KN-14’s range.4

Sources

  1. John Schilling, Jeffrey Lewis, and David Schmerler “A New ICBM for North Korea?,” 38 North, December 22, 2015, 9, http://38north.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/38-North_ICBM-Report122215.pdf.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Richard D. Fisher Jr., “North Korean rocket motor demonstration increases ICBM credibility,” IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 13, 2016, http://www.janes.com/article/59450/north-korean-rocket-motor-demonstration-increases-icbm-credibility ; John Schilling, “North Korea’s Large Rocket Engine Test: A Significant Step Forward for Pyongyang’s ICBM Program,” 38 North, April 11, 2016, http://38north.org/2016/04/schilling041116/
  4. John Schilling, “North Korea’s Large Rocket Engine Test: A Significant Step Forward for Pyongyang’s ICBM Program,” 38 North, April 11, 2016, http://38north.org/2016/04/schilling041116/