No Dong 1

The No Dong 1 is a medium-range, road-mobile, liquid propellant, ballistic missile. It appears to be an enhanced version of the Hwasong-6 (Scud-C) missile. The No Dong 1 also likely incorporates design features of the Russian R-21 (SS-N-5 ‘Sark’) and the R-5 missile. Numerous reports suggest that the North Koreans received assistance from Russian and Chinese scientists.1

No Dong at a Glance

Originated From: North Korea
Possessed By: North Korea
Class: Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM)
Basing: Road-mobile
Length: 16.2 m
Diameter: 1.36 m
Launch Weight: 16,500 kg
Payload: Single warhead, 1200 kg
Warhead: Nuclear, chemical, HE or submunitions
Propulsion: Single-stage liquid propellant
Range: 1,200-1,500 km
Status: Operational
In Service: 1994

no dong

Initial development of the missile is believed to have begun in the mid 1980’s, entered production in 1994, and began active service in 1995. In 2006, the United States estimated that North Korea’s inventory of No Dong 1 missiles was approximately 200.2 By 2009, reports indicated that this stockpile may have increased to 300 missiles.3

Iran and Pakistan field missile nearly identical to the No-Dong, the Shahab-3 and Ghauri (Hatf-5), respectively. It possible that Iran and Pakistan contributed to the No Dong development program.4

Reports of the No Dong 1’s range varies, with most approximations falling between 1,200-1,500 km.5 The accuracy of the missile is estimated to be 2,000 m CEP when deployed at maximum range. It is believed to be 16.2 m in length, 1.36 m in diameter, and a launch weight of 16,500 kg. It is equipped with a 1,200 kg separating warhead that can deploy 800 kg of HE-unitary, chemical, submunitions, or medium-yield nuclear weapons.6 It can be launched from a converted Russian Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle design and from converted North Korean military vehicles.

See all North Korean launches
Date Number Launched Notes
September 5, 2016 3 Distance traveled: 1,000 km.
August 3, 2016 1
March 25, 2014 2 Distance traveled: 650 km.
July 2009 2
July 5, 2006 2
May 1993 2 Distance traveled: 482 km.
June 1992 1
August 1991 1
May 1990 1

The capabilities of the No Dong 1 missile are such that it can only effectively be used against large, soft targets like cities, airports, or harbors. Its range is sufficient to put parts of Japan within striking distance. However, the accuracy is extremely low for modern missiles and likely ineffective against hardened military targets, unless it was equipped with a nuclear warhead. 7

Some missiles may also have been produced for export. As previously mentioned, it is believed that the No Dong 1 project was accomplished in conjunction with both Iran and Pakistan. Estimates are that Pakistan obtained 12-25 No Dong missiles.8 In regards to Iran, reports indicate that it received 150 No Dong 1/2 missiles. Iraq, Eqypt, Syria, and Libya are all believed to have negotiated to obtain the missile at some point, though there are no confirmed exports to these countries.9

North Korea launched a salvo of three No Dong missiles during a test firing in September 2016.

    1. “No Dong 1/2,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 58.
    2. Military Strategy and Operational Requirements: Hearing before the Committee on Armed Services, Senate, 109th Cong., 2, (2006) (statement by General B. B. Bell, Commander, United States Forces Korea).
    3. Jane’s Strategic, 59.
    4. Ibid., 58.
    5. John Schilling and Henry Kan, “The Future of North Korean Nuclear Delivery Systems,” U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, April 2015,; “No Dong 1/2,” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, 58.
    6. Jane’s Strategic, 58.
    7. “CNS Special Report on North Korean Ballistic Missile Capabilities,” Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, March 22, 2006,
    8. Guarav Kampani, “Second Tier Proliferation: The Case of Pakistan and North Korea,” The Nonproliferation Review 9, no. 3 (Fall 2002)
    9. Jane’s Strategic, 58.