NHK-1

The NHK-1 (Nike Hercules Korea 1) was a short-range, solid-fueled ballistic missile. It was reverse-engineered from the U.S. MIM-14 Nike Hercules, from which it derives its name. The NHK-1 was the first ballistic missile indigenously produced in South Korea. It had a range of 180 km.

NHK-1 at a Glance

Originated from: South Korea, United States
Possessed by: South Korea
Alternative names: K-1, Baekgom-1, Paekkom-1 (‘white bear’)
Class: Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
Basing: Road-mobile
Length: 12.2-12.5 m
Diameter: 0.8 m
Launch weight: 5,400 kg
Payload: Unitary warhead, 500 kg
Warhead: High explosive (HE)
Propulsion: Two-stage solid propellant
Range: 180 km
Status: Obsolete
In service: 1978-1987

NHK-1 Development

NHK-1Starting in the early 1970s, South Korea (ROK) began development of a short-range ballistic missile program aimed at countering the North Korean threat.1 In 1972, South Korea obtained U.S. permission to reverse-engineer a U.S. MIM-14 Nike Hercules surface-to-air missile. The state-owned Agency for Defense Development successfully did so in 1975.2 After several modifications, the resulting surface-to-surface missile was designated the NHK-1, also commonly referred to as Baekgom (translation: “white bear”).3

After three failed missile tests, South Korea successfully test fired the missile in September 1978.4

Specifications

The NHK-1 had a length of over 12 m, a diameter of 0.8 m, and a launch weight of approximately 5,400 kg. The missile was solid-fueled, two-staged, with a range of 180 km while carrying a 500 kg high explosive warhead.5

Service History

The NHK-1 missile was prepared to enter operational service in 1978, but was never deployed at the request of the United States, likely due to arms control and regional proliferation concerns. 6 It was replaced by the NHK-2/Hyunmoo-1 SRBM.

    1. Anthony H. Cordesman, “Korean Missile Forces (Working Draft),” CSIS, (Washington, DC: CSIS, November 7, 2016), 29, https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/161108_AHC_Korean_Missile_Forces.pdf.
    2. Zachary Keck, “North Korea Isn’t the Only Korea with Killer Missiles,” The National Interest, July 8, 2017, http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/north-korea-isnt-the-only-korea-killer-missiles-21469.
    3. The Hyunmoo-2C: South Korea’s 800km Missile, Arms Control Wonk Podcast, June 30, 2017, http://armscontrolwonk.libsyn.com/the-hyunmoo-2c-south-koreas-800km-missile.
    4. Tae-Hyung Kim, “South Korea’s space policy and its national security implications,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, December 10, 2010, 11, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10163271.2010.519935?src=recsys&journalCode=rkjd20.
    5. Zachary Keck, “North Korea Isn’t the Only Korea with Killer Missiles” and “Nike-Hercules variant” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 68-69.
    6. Tae-Hyung Kim, “South Korea’s space policy and its national security implications,” 11.