The Hwasong 9, or Scud-ER, is a North Korean medium-range ballistic missile, an extended range version of North Korea’s Hwasong-6. The Hwasong 9 has a demonstrated max range of around 1,000 km.
Hwasong-9 at a Glance
- Originated from
- North Korea
- Alternate names
- Scud Extended Range (Scud-ER)
- Possessed by
- North Korea, Syria
- Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)
- 13.5 m
- 0.88 m
- Launch weight
- 6,400 kg
- Single warhead, 500 kg
- Chemical, HE or submunition
- Single-stage liquid propellant
- 1,000 km
- In service
Hwasong-9 Development & Specifications
Development of the Scud-ER reportedly began in 1991. The first flight test occurred in 1993, but the similarity to the Hwasong-6 system makes confirmation challenging. North Korean engineers may have achieved the missiles extended range by enlarging the Hwasong 6’s fuel and oxidant tanks along with a slight enlargement of the missile fuselage. A reduction in payload weight could also explain some of the Hwasong-9s further reach.
The Hwasong 9 is 13.5 m in length, 0.88 m in diameter, and has a launch weight of 6,400 kg. The single warhead can be conventional high-explosive, nuclear, chemical, or biological. It uses a single-stage liquid propellant engine, and has an accuracy of 3,000 m CEP. 1
North Korean production could have started as early as 1994. Further flight tests of North Korea’s Scud’s may have occurred in 2006, 2009, and 2014 but the subtle differences between the country’s variants make confirmation of the exact missile used for each launch difficult to confirm.2
Syria appears to be a recipient of the Scud-ER. A possible Syrian flight test of a Scud-ER in 2000 suggests that missiles may have been transferred from North Korea, or that missile parts were transferred and later assembled domestically.3
On March 6, North Korea fired four Scud-ER missiles into the Sea of Japan, three of which flew over 1,000 km and landed within 350 km of mainland Japan. According to the South Korean military, the launches took place from Tongchang-ri in northwest North Korea.4
- “‘Scud C’ variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’),” in IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, ed. James C. O’Halloran (United Kingdom: IHS, 2015), 62.
- See: Missile Defense Project, “North Korean Missile Launches & Nuclear Tests: 1984-Present,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, April 20, 2017, last modified July 30, 2020, https://missilethreat.csis.org/north-korea-missile-launches-1984-present/.
- Markus Schiller and Robert H. Schmucker, “Flashback to the Past: North Korea’s “New” Extended-Range Scud,” 38 North, November 8, 2016, https://www.38north.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Scud-ER-110816_Schiller_Schmucker.pdf.
- Missile Defense Project, “North Korea Fires Four Ballistic Missiles,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 6, 2017, last modified June 15, 2018, https://missilethreat.csis.org/north-korea-fires-four-ballistic-missiles/.