KN-24


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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 range of 410 km.

KN-24 at a Glance

Originated from
North Korea
Class
Short range ballistic missile (SRBM)
Possessed by
North Korea
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 near the eastern coastal city of Hamhung on August 10, 2019. The two test missiles flew a depressed trajectory, reaching 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 In subsequent releases, North Korean state media referred to the missiles a “tactical guided weapon.” The U.S. intelligence community has designated the missile as the KN-24.3 

DateRange (km)Altitude(km)Notes
March 21, 202041050Two missiles launched 5 minutes apart and flew on a “variable ballistic trajectory.”
August 16, 201923030Two missiles fired 15 minutes apart and flew on a depressed trajectory.
August 10, 201940048Two missiles fired 15 minutes apart and reached speed of 2.1 km/sec.
Table of KN-24 launches.

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 Similar missiles, like the Russian Iskander-M SRBM, use pull-up maneuvers to orient onboard targeting systems and evade interception such maneuvers to orient active guidance systems. It is unclear whether the KN-24 possesses radar or other terminal seekers.

Design

The KN-24 is similar in appearance to the United States’ MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), measuring an estimated 4.57 – 5.55m in length and 0.7 – 0.85 m in diameter.6 Analysts speculate that the missile carries a unitary warhead with a payload of 400 – 500 kg.7

The KN-24 has demonstrated a range of up to 410 km and can maneuver n flight to fly non-parabolic trajectories. Use of such maneuvers can make it more difficult for missile defenses to establish a predicted point of intercept. The missile may also possessed enhanced accuracy over Scud-based SRBMs. In one test, North Korea struck an 100 meter-wide island, with the missile, suggesting improvements in the missile’s precision.8

Footnotes

    1. “N. Korea says leader supervised test-firing of ‘new weapon'” Yonhap News Agency, August 11, 2019, https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190811000351325?section=nk/nk.
    2. “N. Korea fires 2 unidentified projectiles into East Sea: JCS,” Yonhap News Agency, August 16, 2019, https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190816001354325?section=national/defense.
    3. Ankit Panda, “The return of the KN-24: unpacking North Korea’s March 21 missile test,” NK Pro, March 22, 2020, https://www.nknews.org/pro/the-return-of-the-kn-24-unpacking-north-koreas-march-21-missile-test/.
    4. “N.K. says leader Kim oversaw test of newly developed tactical guided weapon,” Yonhap News Agency, March 22, 2020, https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20200322000552325?section=nk/nk.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Michael Elleman, “Preliminary Assessment of the KN-24 Missile Launches,” 38 North, March 25, 2020, https://www.38north.org/2020/03/melleman032520/.
    7. Michael Elleman, “North Korea’s New Short-Range Missiles: A Technical Evaluation,” 38 North, October 9, 2019, https://www.38north.org/2019/10/melleman100919.
    8. Ibid.
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Missile Defense Project, "KN-24," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 15, 2020, last modified July 31, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/kn-24/.