The North Korean variant of the Russian ‘Scud C’ is a short-range, road-mobile, liquid propellant ballistic missile. The Hwasong 6 represents a substantial range increase over the ‘Scud B’ variant (Hwasong 5).
The Hwasong 6 has a range of 500 km (311 miles) from its single-stage liquid propellant engine. It is 10.94 m in length, 0.88 m in diameter, and has a launch weight of 6,095 kg. Its payload carries one warhead up to 770 kg. The warhead can be chemical, HE, or submunitions. The accuracy is estimated to be 1,000 m CEP.
The production of the ‘Scud C’ in North Korea began in 1992 after a successful launch took place in 1991. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, North Korea was producing approximately 50 to 100 missiles per year. Production has likely ceased except for specific export requests. A 2006 US intelligence report suggested that North Korea had 600 total Hwasong 5, 6 and 7 missiles.
Hwasong 6 and 7 missiles were tested in 2006 and again in 2009. Some have suggested that the missiles could have also been the similar shaped ‘Scud ER’ version (improved Hwasong 7).
Similar to the ‘Scud B’ variant (Hwasong 5) missile, the Hwasong 6 has been proliferated to many nations. Up to 400 Hwasong 6 missiles may have been exported to Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Vietnam and Yemen. Unfortunately, it cannot be confirmed that Cuba, Egypt or Iraq received Hwasong 6 missiles. Furthermore, Iran, Libya and Syria set up their own production lines making it very difficult to distinguish between domestically produced systems and imported versions.
- Iran is reported to have purchased 60 missiles in 1991, and proceeded with a flight test in May of that year. Iran eventually reached the ability to indigenously produce ‘Scud C’ variants — known in Iran as the Shahab 2.
- Libya bought Hwasong 6 missiles in 1993. In 2004, Libya sent five Hwasong 6 missiles with two MAZ 543 TELs to the U.S.
- Syria began receiving Hwasong 6 missiles from Libya starting in 1993. The Syrians later reached production capability of the ‘Scud C’ variant. Reports suggest that flight tests have occurred in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
- ‘Scud C’ technology may have been sold to Egypt in the late 1990s, and they may have assembled missiles in 2001/2002.
- Vietnam reportedly ordered Hwasong 6 missiles from North Korea in 1998. It is unclear if this deal was fulfilled.
- Iraq was allegedly interested in purchasing 300 Hwasong 6 missiles in 2001. This deal likely did not occur.
- Yemen may have up to 25 Hwasong missiles sent by ship in 2002. 1
- Lennox, Duncan. “‘Sucd C’ Variant (Hwasong 6), ‘Scud D’ variant (Hwasong 7, and ‘Scud ER’)” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). September 21, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012). ↩