The Scud-ER is a North Korean medium-range ballistic missile, an extended range version of North Korea’s Hwasong-6. The Scud-ER has a demonstrated range of around 1,000 km, but without knowing the payload weight during its testing, it is unclear the size or type of warhead the Scud-ER could deliver at those distances. It is believed that North Korean engineers accomplished this increased performance by enlarging the fuel and oxidant tanks along with a slight enlargement of the missile fuselage. A reduction in payload weight could also explain some of the missile’s further reach.
Scud-ER at a Glance
Originated from: North Korea
Possessed by: North Korea, Syria
Class: Medium-Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM)
Alternate Name(s): Hwasong-9
Length: 13.5 m
Diameter: 0.88 m
Launch weight: 6,400 kg
Payload: Single warhead 500 kg
Warhead: Chemical, HE or submunitions
Propulsion: Single-stage liquid propellant
Range: 800 km – 1,000 km
In service: 1994
The Scud-ER 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 chemical, HE or submunitions. It uses a single-stage liquid propellant engine, and has an accuracy of 3,000 m CEP.1
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 production could have started as early as 1994, though the extent of internal production is unknown. 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 makes confirmation of the exact missile used for each launch difficult to decipher.
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 missiles parts were transferred and later assembled domestically.
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 Noh Jae-chon, a South Korean military spokesman, the missiles were launched from Tongchang-ri in northwest North Korea.
- “‘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. ↩