The KN-24 is a North Korean short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) first tested in August 2019. The missile flies on a quasi-ballistic trajectory and has an estimated maximum range of 410 km.

KN-24 at a Glance

Originated From: North Korea
Possessed By: North Korea
Class: Short-Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM)
Basing: Road-mobile
Length: 4.57-5.55 m 
Diameter: 0.7-0.85 m
Launch Weight: >1,670 kg
Payload: 400-500 kg
Warhead: Unknown
Propulsion: Single-stage, solid propellant
Range: 410 km

KN-24 Development


North Korea first test fired the KN-24 missile near the eastern coastal city of Hamhung on August 10, 2019. The two test missiles reached an apogee of 48 km and a range of 400 km.1 Six days later, North Korea test fired two more KN-24 missiles from Tongchon to an apogee of 30 km and a range of 230 km.2 This flight path indicates that North Korea fired the projectiles on a depressed trajectory. North Korean media refers to the missile as a “tactical guided weapon” or “Juche shells.” The U.S. intelligence community refers to it as the KN-24.3 

On March 21, 2020, North Korea conducted its third test launch of the KN-24, firing two missiles from Sonchon to an apogee of 50 km and a range of 410 km.4 These missiles reportedly performed “pull-up maneuvers” in flight.5 Some similar missiles, such as the Russian SS-26, use such maneuvers to orient onboard targeting systems. It is unclear if the KN-24 possesses such targeting systems, however.

See all North Korean launches
Date Range (km) Altitude(km) Notes
March 21, 2020 410 50 Two missiles launched 5 minutes apart and flew on a “variable ballistic trajectory.”
August 16, 2019 230 30 Two missiles fired 15 minutes apart and flew on a depressed trajectory.
August 10, 2019 400 48 Two missiles fired 15 minutes apart and reached speed of 2.1 km/sec.

Appearance and Specifications 

The KN-24 has has demonstrated a range of up to 410 km.6 In addition to potentially improved precision, the missile’s quasi-ballistic trajectory presents a challenge for missile defense. By flying lower than traditional SRBMs like the Scud, the KN-24 could use guidance fins to maneuver aerodynamically. Following a non-parabolic trajectory makes it more difficult for defense systems to establish an intercept point.

The missile is similar in appearance to the U.S. Army’s MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS). Analysts speculate that the missile carries a unitary warhead with a payload of 400-500 kg.7 It likely measures between 4.57-5.55 m in length and 0.7-0.85 m in diameter.8 In one test, North Korea struck an 100 meter-wide island, suggesting the missile could be considerably more accurate than North Korea’s legacy Scud-based missiles.9

The missile appears to share a common booster with the KN-23, as well as similar fight capabilities.10 Unlike the KN-23, however, the KN-24 may feature interchangeable warheads, providing DPRK with increased operational flexibility.11

KN-24 Service History

The KN-23’s operational status is unclear but is presumed to remain in development.

    1. “N. Korea says leader supervised test-firing of ‘new weapon'” Yonhap News Agency, August 11, 2019,
    2. “N. Korea fires 2 unidentified projectiles into East Sea: JCS,” Yonhap News Agency, August 16, 2019,
    3. Ankit Panda, “The return of the KN-24: unpacking North Korea’s March 21 missile test,” NK Pro, March 22, 2020,
    4. “N.K. says leader Kim oversaw test of newly developed tactical guided weapon,” Yonhap News Agency, March 22, 2020,
    5. Ibid.
    6. Michael Elleman, “North Korea’s New Short-Range Missiles: A Technical Evaluation,” 38 North, October 9, 2019,
    7. Ibid.
    8. Michael Elleman, “Preliminary Assessment of the KN-24 Missile Launches,” 38 North, March 25, 2020,
    9. Ibid.
    10. Panda, “The return of the KN-24.”
    11. Ibid.