An analysis of the North Korean Nodong Missile

David C. Wright, Timur Kadyshev, "An analysis of the North Korean Nodong Missile," Science & Global Security, 4, no. 2, (1994): 129-160.
In this paper, we analyze the North Korean missile program based on publicly available information and a technical understanding of missile systems. In particular, we present models for the 1,000 kilometer-range Nodong missile and a 1,300 kilometer-range variant, both based on Scud technology. These models are single-stage missiles with four clustered Scud-engines and would have a circular error probable (CEP) of two to four kilometers or larger. We conclude that a 1,000 kilometer-range missile with a one tonne payload could be built using Scud technology. Moreover, it appears feasible to extend the range to roughly 1,300 kilometers (with the same payload) if the missile body can be constructed out of high-strength aluminum rather than steel, although it is unclear whether North Korea has such a capability. If both missiles are based on Scud technology, their existence would not imply a breakthrough in North Korean missile technology. These missiles would then represent essentially the longest-range missiles achievable without technically difficult steps such as multi-staging, suggesting that future range increases may occur more slowly than past increases, depending on the level of technical assistance North Korea can acquire. We look briefly at what ranges could be achieved using a two-stage model with Scud engines and the difficulties a missile such as the Nodong would present to endo-atmospheric missile defenses.

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