North Korea KN-15 (Pukkuksong-2) Nuclear Capable ICBM Test Firing

The KN-15 (Pukkuksong-2) is a cold-launched, medium-range ballistic missile, and appears to be a land-based variant of the KN-11, North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile. KN-15 performed its first flight test on February 12, 2017, although North Korea has been conducting flight tests of KN-11 since May 2015. To date, little has been confirmed concerning the exact capabilities of the KN-15. In its February 2017 flight test, the missile flew 500 km, and reached a maximum altitude of 550 km, a nearly identical trajectory to the KN-11’s successful flight test in August 2016. This lofted trajectory has led analysts to contend that KN-15 could have a maximum range of between 1,200 and 2,000 km when fired along a more depressed trajectory. The missile also employs a solid-fueled engine, which would allow for the missile to be fired shortly after receiving a launch order as it does not need to be fueled prior to launch. Solid-fuel missiles also require far fewer support vehicles and personnel, increasing their operational flexibility. Currently, the only other solid-fuel missile in North Korea’s ballistic missile arsenal is the short-range KN-02.

North Korea KN-15 Pukkuksong-2 Nuclear Capable ICBM Test Firing
North Korea KN-15 Pukkuksong-2 Nuclear Capable ICBM Test Firing

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