The Taepo Dong 1 is a medium-range, liquid and solid propellant, single warhead ballistic missile. There is also a three stage version, however, which can be used as a satellite launch vehicle called the Taepo Dong SLV. The missile can carry a nuclear warhead to a maximum range of 2,000 km (1,243 miles). The U.S. designation of Taepo Dong was chosen by the location of where the missile was first seen; the North Korean designation is unknown.
The Taepo Dong 1 is believed to use the No Dong missile as the first stage and a variant of the ‘Scud B’ or ‘Scud C’ for the second stage. It has a length of 25.5 m, a diameter of 1.25 or 1.36 m/0.88 m (first/second stage), a launch weight of 20,700 kg, and is equipped with a single 750 kg nuclear, biological, chemical or high-explosive warhead. Like most of the North Korean missiles, the accuracy is limited to about 3,000 m CEP, but it is possible that with the proliferation of guidance technologies from the PRC that the DPRK has acquired a better guidance system for these missiles.
Development of the Taepo Dong 1 began in approximately 1990. A space-launch version of the missile was first tested in 1998 and the military version has now reached operational status. The 1998 test of the SLV version is the only known flight test of a Taepo Dong 1 missile; though North Korea has been known to produce missiles after only very limited testing, such limited testing history suggests that the missile will not be very reliable. In June 2006 a report stated that North Korea had 25 to 30 Taepo Dong 1 missiles available for testing or use, but estimation is difficult because of decoy missiles built by North Korea. A 2008 report suggested that only a few of the missiles were in storage and the status of these missiles was unknown. With the test launch of the Taepo Dong 2 in July 2006, it is possible that the missile was eclipsed by the newer project. The missile technology will likely be proliferated in much the same way as past North Korean designs – especially because Iranian and Pakistani personnel were involved in the first test launch. It is probable that future Iranian and Pakistani missiles will integrate Taepo Dong technology. 1
- Lennox, Duncan. “Taepo Dong 1” Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems (Offensive Weapons). September 21, 2012. (accessed September 12, 2012). ↩