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Status: Obsolete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


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,
    2. Zachary Keck, “North Korea Isn’t the Only Korea with Killer Missiles,” The National Interest, July 8, 2017,
    3. The Hyunmoo-2C: South Korea’s 800km Missile, Arms Control Wonk Podcast, June 30, 2017,
    4. Tae-Hyung Kim, “South Korea’s space policy and its national security implications,” Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, December 10, 2010, 11,
    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.