Here Are The Photos Of North Korea's Monster Missile

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Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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This vehicle has two nozzles which must be gimballed versus their previous longest range missile, the Hwasong-14, which has a single nozzle with four vernier engines surrounding it.

Here Are The Photos Of North Korea's Monster Missile

Yesterday served as an unwanted reminder for many that North Korea is indeed still hurtling headlong toward their strategic endgame. Not only was it another launch of an ICBM by the rogue regime, the third so far, but it also featured a huge increase in range. North Korea can now theoretically hit any target in the United States. What wasn't clear at the time of the launch was if the missile was an evolved variant of the existing Hwasong-14 or some new design. But hours after the launch, North Korea state media said that it was indeed a new design—it's designation being Hwasong-15. Now we have pictures of this new missile and they are terrifying as they are impressive.

There is no denying it, the HS-15 is a huge missile that dwarfs the HS-14 in girth and likely in length as well. Upon quick examination, the HS-15 looks like it uses two main engine nozzles instead of the one found on the HS-14. It also features a full diameter second stage as opposed to the tapered one on the HS-14.

The nose cone design is of special interest. It is much broader than its predecessor and features the blunt nose shape that North Korea has been showing for years but has never test flown—until now. The missile seems large enough to potentially be able to accommodate multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) or one large nuclear device.

Finally, the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) is something new as well. This version features nine axles, one more than any other TEL we have ever seen in North Korea's possession. Everything appears up-sized as well, including its hydraulic actuators that raise the massive missile into firing position, its transport collar, and its launch stand.

If anything, I would venture to say that this missile has more performance to give than what we have already seen. Additionally, we still don't know what fuel it is leveraging, especially for its second stage. North Korea has made some big leaps in various missile technologies as of late, including those surrounding the production of solid rocket fuel and light-weight structures.

Many analysts are pouring over these photos as this is being written and surely more revelations as to this new missile design will quickly come to light. In the meantime take a look at the pictures for yourself.







29 minutes and the thread isn’t locked yet? This should be interesting.

Think a 98mm MD can take it out in flight?
Calling Jim Jarvis to the coast please :). It’s in jest friends

Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
A handful of...

Well placed MOABs...

Should take care...

Of the problem...
Seems like people in the know should be able to identify the booster's fuel from the strange orange cloud.
I kinda like the flat-black paint scheme.
Anyone know what size shear pins they use?

Thanks, Winston, for the update. The news media keeps playing the launches of the previous design with the vernier nozzles. The vernier nozzles always suggested to me liquid fuel. Since they need high performance and storable liquids, I would assume nitrogen tetroxide and some kind of hydrazine. The orange clouds suggest N2O4. The Titan II used unsymmetrical hydrazine. They can lift the lighter unloaded missile with hydraulics and then tank up. None of the news media ever show the missiles tanking up.
Impressive missiles. Meanwhile, the people starve as related by NK refugees in this video: