Reports in 1997 suggested that Syria exported Russian-built OTR-21 Tochka (SS-21 ‘Scarab’) missiles to North Korea for reverse engineering. These reports appear to have been substantiated by a series of North Korean missile tests of a new short range ballistic missile.
The KN-02 is a short-range, road-mobile ballistic missile. It is believed to be 6.4 m in length, 0.65 m in diameter, and have a launch weight of 2,010 kg. It can carry a payload of 485 kg holding HE warheads. Though Russian engineers have been able to equip the OTR-21 missiles with 100kT nuclear warheads, it does not seem likely that North Korea would be able to do the same for quite some time. The missile could, of course, be equipped to carry a nuclear warhead at some point, though submunitions and chemical warheads are far more likely developments in the near future.
The first missile test, in April 2004, was a failure. Since 2004, the KN-02 has been tested at least 17 times. Initial production probably began in 2006 and the missiles probably entered service in 2008. North Korea displayed the missiles aboard a TEL during a military parade in April 2007. The missiles are likely carried on 6 x 6 army trucks, similar to the MAZ 630308-243.
Like the OTR-21, the KN-02 is believed to have a range of about 120 km. Missile tests in June 2007 may have successfully tested the missile to 140 km, and the missile may even be capable of traveling 160 km, though the additional ranges probably require a reduced payload. The guidance system is inertial with an optical correlation system in the terminal phase, a combination that probably yields an accuracy near 100 m CEP. 1
- Lennox, Duncan. “KN-02 (SS-21 ‘Scarab’ variant)” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). September 21, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012). ↩