North Korea’s Newest Ballistic Missile: A Preliminary Assessment

May 17, 2019

38 North – On May 4, under the watchful eye of Kim Jong Un, North Korea launched a series of projectiles featuring two types of large-caliber, multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and a new short-range ballistic missile. A few days later, North Korea released photographs of tested projectiles, which provides a basis for preliminary evaluations. The 240 mm and 300 mm diameter MLRS systems are not new to North Korea, nor do they alter the country’s battlefield capabilities. The short-range ballistic missile, depending on its origins, may significantly enhance Pyongyang’s capacity to conduct strategic strikes against targets in South Korea.

The 240 mm diameter rocket has been part of the DPRK’s arsenal for several decades. It has an estimated range of about 40 to 50 km and carries a relatively small warhead of about 45 kg. Photographs reveal that it relies on a smokeless, double-base solid fuel that is common to most battlefield rockets.

Figure 1. The 240 mm MLRS rockets powered by smokeless, double-base solid fuel. The rockets have a range of about 40 km.

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