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)
Length: 4.57-5.55 m
Diameter: 0.7-0.85 m
Launch Weight: >1,670 kg
Payload: 400-500 kg
Propulsion: Single-stage, solid propellant
Range: 410 km
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.
|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.