The Hwasong-14 (Chosŏn'gŭl: 화성 14호; hancha: 火星 14号, meaning Mars-14), also known under alternative US designation codename KN-20, is a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile developed by North Korea. It had its maiden flight on 4 July 2017, which coincided with the United States' Independence Day. North Korea is the only known operator of this missile.
|Type||Intercontinental ballistic missile|
|Place of origin||North Korea|
|In service||First successful test on 4 July 2017|
|Used by||North Korea|
|Produced||2017 - present|
|Length||19.5 m (63 ft)|
|Diameter||1.7 m (5.5 ft)|
|Engine||Two-stage Liquid-fuel rocket|
453kN, 46–48 tonne-force.
|10,000 km (6,200 mi)|
|Flight altitude||~3720 km|
The Hwasong-14 is likely a two-staged version of the Hwasong-12 first tested in May 2017. The second stage appears to have increased its range. The first stage engine appears very similar to the Hwasong-12. With a single liquid fuel engine, it has four Vernier thrusters for stability and guidance.
A detailed analysis by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists claims that the current variant of the Hwasong-14 may not even be capable of delivering a first-generation nuclear warhead to Anchorage, Alaska. But even if North Korea is now capable of fabricating a relatively light-weight, “miniaturized” atomic bomb that can survive the extreme reentry environments of long-range rocket delivery, it will, with certainty, not be able to deliver such an atomic bomb to the lower 48 states of the United States with the rocket tested on July 3 and July 28.
The missile is launched from a detachable platform on a concrete pad. This could have several operational ramifications. It may increase the time required to launch the Hwasong-12, and limit the number of launch locations to pre-sited and pre-constructed launch pads.
Michael Elleman of IISS and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists both claim that available evidence clearly indicates that the engine is based on the Soviet RD-250 (R-36 (missile)) family of engines, and has been modified to operate as the boosting force for the Hwasong-12 and -14. According to his theory an unknown number of these engines were probably acquired though illicit channels operating in Russia and/or Ukraine. North Korea’s need for an alternative to the failing Musudan and the recent appearance of the RD-250 engine along with other evidence, suggests the transfers occurred in 2015-2017. Ukraine rejected this theory claiming it was "most likely provoked by Russian secret services to cover their own crimes.” Other US experts have questioned whether the evidence for Elleman's theory is strong enough to back up his claims. Engine maker Yuzhnoye Design Office denied that the engines were supplied to North Korea by Ukraine.
In August 2017 the State Space Agency of Ukraine claimed that the rocket engine used during 28 July 2017 North Korea's missile test was RD-250 made at a Ukrainian factory, but solely for use in Tsyklon space rockets supplied to Russia. The space agency chief said that according to Ukrainian information, “Russia today has between 7 and 20” of the Tsyklon rockets...They have these engines, they have the documentation. They can supply these engines from the finished rockets to whoever they want.” The agency also claimed that a total of 223 Tsyklon-2 and Tsyklon-3 rockets were supplied to Russia. Furthermore, he stated that North Korea cannot produce the fuel for the RD-250 (N2O4 and UDMH), and that it must have been produced either in China or in Russia.
List of Hwasong-14 testsEdit
|Attempt||Date||Location||Pre-launch announcement / detection||Outcome||Additional Notes|
|1||4 July 2017 ||near Panghyon Airport, 39.872126 N 125.269258 E||None||Success||ICBM variant of Hwasong-12 with second stage added and smaller reentry vehicle was fired on a lofted trajectory with apogee of 2,802 km (1,741 mi), landing 933 km (580 mi) away in the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea).|
|2||28 July 2017 ||near Mupyong-ni, Chagang Province||Detected by US intelligence since 20 July||Success||Fired on a lofted trajectory with apogee of 3,724.9 km (2,314.5 mi), landing 998 km (620 mi) away in the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) near Hokkaido, with a total flight time of 47 minutes, 12 seconds.|
First test flightEdit
The first publicly announced flight test was on the 4th July 2017,[i] to coincide with the US Independence Day celebrations. This flight had a claimed range of 933 kilometres (580 mi) eastwards into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) and reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometres (9,193,000 ft) during a 39-minute flight.
This range was deliberately shortened, to avoid encroaching on other nations' territory, by 'lofting' the missile: firing it on a trajectory that was inefficiently high, rather than optimised for range. This allows the missile's performance to be tested and demonstrated, without requiring a huge test range.
A prediction for the possible range, following an optimum trajectory, has been given at 6,700 kilometres (4,200 mi) or as much as 10,400 kilometres (6,500 mi) not taking into account the Earth’s rotation. If true, then this brings the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii within the missile's range.
Second test flightEdit
Preparations for a second test flight were detected by US intelligence as early as 20 July. On 28 July, the missile was fired at 11:41 p.m local time, the first time which a night time launch was carried out. The missile was fired at a lofted trajectory with apogee of 3,700 km (2,300 mi), landing 998 km (620 mi) away with a total flight time of approximately 47 minutes. Based on the data from the test flight, if the missile were fired at the optimal efficient trajectory, it is predicted that the maximum effective range would exceed 10,000 km (6,200 mi). If factoring in the rotation of the Earth, which may provide a range boost when travelling eastward, the Hwasong-14’s coverage area would include the US West Coast, Chicago, and possibly even New York, but only with a substantially reduced payload.
Kim Jong-un's order for the first test flight
- "North Korean HS-14 ICBM". www.b14643.de. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "North Korea's Third ICBM Launch - 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea". 29 November 2017.
- Diplomat, Ankit Panda and Vipin Narang, The. "North Korea's ICBM: A New Missile and a New Era". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "North Korea Appears to Launch Missile with 6,700 km Range". 3 July 2017.
- "N. Korea likely to have operational ICBM capable of striking U.S. West Coast next year or two: U.S. expert".
- Diplomat, Ankit Panda, The. "Why Is Russia Denying That North Korea Launched an ICBM?". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "What is True and Not True About North Korea's Hwasong-14 ICBM: A Technical Evaluation". 38 North. July 10, 2017.
As was noted at the time, the Hwasong-14 was launched on a very high angle “lofted” trajectory to avoid overflying Japan, ...
- "Arms Control Wonk : North Korea's ICBM: Hwasong-14". armscontrolwonk.libsyn.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "North Korean ICBM Appears Able to Reach Major US Cities". ucsusa.org. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- "Hwasong-14 (KN-20)". Missile Threat CSIS. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- "North Korea's Kim Jong Un says ICBM an Independence Day 'gift' to 'American b**tards': KCNA". The Straits Times. 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- "Hwasong-14". Center for Strategic and International Studies. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- "Course Correction:". 11 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "Hwasong-14 (KN-20) - Missile Threat". csis.org. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Diplomat, Ankit Panda, The. "North Korea's New High-Performance Missile Engines Likely Weren't Made in Russia or Ukraine". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- News, A. B. C. (14 August 2017). "Ukraine denies North Korean missile components came from state-owned factory". ABC News. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Borger, Julian (15 August 2017). "North Korea attack on Guam could 'quickly escalate into war' – James Mattis". Retrieved 18 August 2017 – via The Guardian.
- "DENIAL OF THE ARTICLE "THE SECRET OF THE NORTH KOREA'S ICBM SUCCESS" BY THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGIC STUDIES AND THE ARTICLE "NORTH KOREA'S MISSILE SUCCESS IS LINKED TO UKRAINIAN PLANT, INVESTIGATORS SAY" BY THE NEW YORK TIMES". www.yuzhnoye.com. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- "Kiev space chief: Engines used in North Korea rockets made for Russia but China also had fuel tech". 16 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017 – via Japan Times Online.
- "Ukraine's space agency: North Korea engine identical to ours". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- Takala, Rudy (4 October 2017). "European banks are key to North Korea's advance in missile technology".
- "North Korea announces successful ICBM test". NK News.org. 5 July 2017.
- "North Korea's Hwasong-14 Missile Launch Site Identified: The Panghyon Aircraft Factory". 38 North. Johns Hopkins. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
- "North Korea announces successful ICBM test". NK News.org. 28 July 2017.
- "US intelligence shows North Korean preparations for a possible missile test". 20 July 2017.
- John Schilling (5 July 2017). "North Korea Finally Tests an ICBM". 38 North.
- David Wright, (3 July 2017). "North Korea Appears to Launch Missile with 6,700 km Range". Union of Concerned Scientists.
- "Pentagon Spokesman Comments on North Korean Missile Launch". Department of Defense. 28 July 2017.
- "Why North Korea's Night Missile Launch Was So Unusual". 28 July 2017.
- "What Next for North Korea's ICBM? - 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea". 38north.org. 1 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.