North Korean KN-23 OTRK in the Russian army: rumors, doubts and evidence

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North Korean KN-23 OTRK in the Russian army: rumors, doubts and evidence
Missile system KN-23 / "Hwasong-11Ga". Photo by KCNA


Several months ago, the first reports appeared in the foreign press about possible deliveries of North Korean operational-tactical missile systems to the Russian army. Later, information was published about the beginning of the combat use of such weapons in the zone of the Special Operation to Protect Donbass, and even some evidence of this was provided. However, official information on this topic has not yet been announced, and the real state of affairs remains unknown.



From unnamed sources


In September 2023, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited Russia. During the official visit, negotiations were held on the continuation and development of international cooperation in various fields. However, all the details of the visit and the events held were not disclosed.

Following the arrival of Kim Jong-un, various assessments, forecasts and rumors appeared in the Western press. In particular, a version arose about holding negotiations on possible Russian purchases of North Korean weapons of various classes and types. It was understood that the Russian army, during the Special Operation, had depleted its warehouse stocks and was now forced to look for the products it needed wherever it could, including. ask them from “unreliable countries.” Such theses do not correspond to the real state of affairs, but they fit well into the concepts and news agenda of the “civilized world”.


Allegedly fragments of a North Korean missile used against a target in Kharkov. Photo Telegram / "Military informant"

In November, new “details” appeared. Citing their unnamed sources, foreign media reported that Russia and the DPRK agreed on the supply of various ammunition and operational-tactical missile systems. Allegedly, the North Korean side agreed to sell a certain number of KN-23 and KN-24 systems. In the near future, these products were supposed to arrive in Russia, and then they were expected to appear in the Special Operation zone.

For obvious reasons, such news did not receive official comment. Russian and Korean official structures simply ignored the latest speculation from abroad. In addition, reasonable doubts arose about the very need to purchase foreign OTRK for the Russian army. The fact is that our armed forces and industry are focused on covering all their needs independently and do not purchase missile weapons abroad.

According to new data


In early January 2024, the first reports appeared abroad about the start of combat use of imported missiles by the Russian army. This kind of information was announced by officials of Ukraine and the United States. It was alleged that at the end of December Russia used the KN-23 complex on a target in the Zaporozhye direction. The next strike of this kind took place on January 2 at a facility in Kharkov. According to American intelligence, during these attacks the missiles flew at a range of up to 460 km.


The bottom of the body of a fallen rocket. The frames mark the casings of the gas-dynamic steering wheels. Photo Telegram / "Military informant"

Soon the first “evidence” of the use of North Korean weapons appeared. Ukrainian sources published a photograph of a damaged part, allegedly left over from a fallen rocket. It was alleged that this was an element of the tail section of the KN-23 product - the annular bottom of the hull with casings for the drives of gas-dynamic rudders. The damaged part was compared with available photographs of the Russian Iskander missile and the Korean KN-23, and similarities were found with the latter.

According to foreign reports, the use of Korean OTRK continues. KN-23 missiles regularly fly into certain objects. At the same time, the Ukrainian side is trying to downplay the results of their use. Thus, a photograph of a certain explosion crater with fallen trees around was recently circulated. It was claimed that this was the result of a North Korean missile falling off target - hinting at the low accuracy and effectiveness of such weapons.

The topic of foreign missiles in the Russian army continues to attract attention, and new structures are joining its development. Thus, on February 20, the British research center Conflict Armament Research published the results of its study of a rocket that fell in Kharkov on January 2. The purpose of the study was to determine the technical and other features of the Korean OTRK.


Possible flight route of the rocket on January 2 according to CAR

It is alleged that the KN-23 missile is being built with extensive use of foreign components. 290 imported components from 26 manufacturers were found in the wreckage. Interestingly, about three-quarters of these companies are American; others are from Europe and Asia. Specific manufacturers are not named due to the sensitivity of the topic. At the same time, CAR is trying to determine how their products were able to get into the DPRK.

According to the CAR report, imported parts are used in the missile control system. The main part of them is involved in navigation devices - the most complex and critical part of the entire system. Based on the markings on the components, it is assumed that the missile was manufactured no earlier than March 2023. In this regard, the possibility of special production of KN-23 products to Russian order cannot be ruled out.

Thus, if the information from CAR is true, an extremely interesting situation is observed. Despite all the measures of foreign states, sanctions, etc., the DPRK still found ways to obtain imported dual-use products in the form of electronic components. They are used to build important instruments for modern missile weapons, and the industry appears to have confidence in the reliability of supply as well as their ability to achieve mass production.


KN-23 on parade in Pyongyang. Photo by KCNA

Missile potential


Thus, foreign sources claim that the Russian army has received and is already using North Korean-made operational-tactical missile systems. Some evidence and other information about such cooperation is provided. In turn, Russia and the DPRK do not confirm or deny this information, and also do not report the use of imported OTRK, if it occurs.

Regardless of the actual state of affairs, the North Korean KN-23 (foreign designation) or Hwasong-11Ga (official name) missile could be useful in solving the problems of demilitarizing Ukraine. According to known data, the OTRK with such ammunition has fairly high characteristics and is capable of effectively hitting a wide range of targets - troops in concentration areas, headquarters, artillery and missile systems, etc.


Railway complex based on the Hwasong-11 rocket. Photo by KCNA

From the point of view of general architecture and evaluation characteristics, the Hwasong-11Ga OTRK is similar to the Russian Iskander complex. Due to the technical and external similarity of the missiles abroad, they came up with the nickname “Kimskander”. The basic version of the Korean OTRK is built on a car chassis and carries two missiles. A railway version has also been developed based on a special launch car. The ammunition load of such a carriage also includes two missiles.

The KN-23 rocket has a total length of no more than 9-10 m with a diameter of 1,1 m. The launch mass is estimated at 3,4-3,5 tons. A single-stage scheme with a solid propellant engine is used, due to which it accelerates to design speeds and exits to a given trajectory. In the past, it was assumed that the range of the Hwasong-11Ga did not exceed 280-300 km. According to recent estimates, this parameter can reach 900 km. How exactly it was possible to obtain such flight data with limited size and weight is unclear. Perhaps there is some confusion, and someone else's characteristics were attributed to the KN-23 missile.

The rocket's payload reaches 500 kg. It is assumed that it will be possible to install a high-explosive fragmentation or special warhead. Guidance is carried out using a standard combination of inertial and satellite navigation devices for OTRK. To control the active part of the trajectory, gas-dynamic rudders are used, located at the engine nozzle.


Launching a rocket from a BZHRK. Photo by KCNA

The DPRK has repeatedly conducted test and training launches of Hwasong-11Ga missiles and generally showed good results. It is reported that the calculated characteristics have been fully confirmed and the desired capabilities have been achieved. In general, there is reason to consider this OTRK a good representative of its class, capable of effectively solving expected combat missions.

Necessity and feasibility


The experience of the current Special Operation conducted by the Russian army shows that operational-tactical missiles remain an important and useful tool for hitting a variety of enemy targets. Currently, our missile forces have only one system of this class in service - Iskander. Depending on the modification, such an OTRK can use several types of missiles with different potentials.

Iskander missiles of all types have high performance and show themselves to be effective modern weapons. In the presence of such weapons, purchasing foreign equipment simply does not make sense. However, we cannot yet completely exclude the possibility of other types of OTRKs from friendly countries appearing in the troops. With proper organization of combat work, this will allow one to obtain better results, as well as help foreign colleagues gain combat experience and accumulate the necessary information.
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  1. +20
    22 February 2024 04: 05
    The missile may be similar to the Iskander, but I very much doubt that it can be launched from our launchers. Why? Because this would mean the transfer of drawings and diagrams to North Korea at least several years ago, and knowing the senile scrupulousness of our leadership in relation to the “opinion of the world community,” this simply cannot be believed. And the Korean launchers near the zone would have been revealed very quickly.
    1. +3
      22 February 2024 05: 29
      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      Because this would mean transferring drawings and diagrams to North Korea at least several years ago

      Do you reject any unadvertised secret cooperation with the North Koreans?
      1. +4
        22 February 2024 05: 38
        Quote: Dutchman Michel
        Do you reject any unadvertised secret cooperation with the North Koreans?

        Can you say something about the Korean OTRK in the NWO zone?
        Quote: Vladimir_2U
        and knowing the senile scrupulousness of our leadership in relation to the “opinion of the world community,” I simply cannot believe it.
        1. +4
          22 February 2024 05: 41
          Quote: Vladimir_2U
          Can you say something about the Korean OTRK in the NWO zone?

          If such information is not for general use, then I can’t say anything
          1. 0
            22 February 2024 05: 45
            Quote: Dutchman Michel
            If such information is not for general use, then I can’t say anything

            Is this not enough for you?
            Quote: Vladimir_2U
            And the Korean launchers near the zone would have been revealed very quickly.
            1. +5
              22 February 2024 05: 47
              Quote: Vladimir_2U
              And the Korean launchers near the zone would have been revealed very quickly
              If Korean PUs are made according to our drawings and using our own technologies, then it is as if it is impossible to open it.
              1. -4
                22 February 2024 06: 00
                Quote: Dutchman Michel
                If Korean PUs are made according to our drawings and using our own technologies, then it is as if it is impossible to open it.

                You are not able to compare the pictures, are you?
            2. +16
              22 February 2024 09: 06
              Quote: Vladimir_2U

              Quote: Vladimir_2U
              And the Korean launchers near the zone would have been revealed very quickly.

              And what? I don’t see anything wrong with using Korean, Vietnamese, Zimbabwean, etc. weapons. If the need arises. If it were up to me, I would give wheat for free to the North Koreans, and not to the Africans. And in general I would support them with food.
              1. 0
                22 February 2024 09: 12
                Quote: Krasnoyarsk
                And what? I don’t see anything wrong with using Korean, Vietnamese, Zimbabwean, etc. weapons.

                And I don't see. But this is not the case, and the fact that the hecklers are pushing the topic, well, they want to get something out of it, so why should they make the task easier?
      2. +8
        22 February 2024 10: 03
        Quote: Dutchman Michel
        Do you reject any unadvertised secret cooperation with the North Koreans?

        It is known that the West uses the SVO to its advantage, in particular, testing some types of its weapons in real combat conditions. It is likely that other countries (North Korea, Iran, China...) can do the same, only by helping Russia. If their weapons prove themselves well, this is a big plus for them (for export), if not so much, then they need to be improved. Not this way?
        1. +2
          22 February 2024 10: 46
          Quote: pyagomail.ru
          Not this way?
          It's like that!
    2. +2
      22 February 2024 14: 51
      The launchers are similar to such an extent that they cannot be distinguished from space, which is why NATO countries have no way to quickly confirm that it is Korean launchers that are being used
    3. -1
      22 February 2024 21: 00
      Well, initially the development came from our designs and drawings, so maybe the interchangeability remains, just to be completed.
    4. 0
      23 February 2024 00: 33
      More like the R-17, i.e. SCUD, USSR classic, not much modified
      1. +1
        23 February 2024 21: 14
        The Scud is a liquid rocket, and the KN-23 is a solid rocket. So these are completely different products. Yes, and the control system of the 8K14 (Scud) is already archaic, inaccurate and no longer suitable for the KN-23.
  2. +1
    22 February 2024 05: 27
    Interestingly, about three quarters of these companies are American

    We should also take a closer look at this experience.
  3. +6
    22 February 2024 06: 08
    It is alleged that the KN-23 missile is being built with extensive use of foreign components. 290 imported components from 26 manufacturers were found in the wreckage. Interestingly, about three-quarters of these companies are American; others are from Europe and Asia.

    They also write that imported components were produced in 2021-2023. Those. when the DPRK was in complete self-isolation - even Russian diplomatic staff with family members came from the country on a railway carriage? At the same time, it is not known whose production the rocket is - these are just guesses.
    The DPRK has been producing electronic components for a long time. Experts on Korea write that in the last century, the DPRK sold household computers in Australia, and cell phones in France (under a foreign brand). Koreans even sold electrical appliances to Japan. The electronic base for missiles does not require advanced technologies and the Koreans clearly produce the electronics necessary for this themselves.
  4. +2
    22 February 2024 06: 12
    Honestly, I don’t care about the howls of the West... I don’t care!!!
    Honestly, attempts by our leadership to follow some kind of international law, rules, recommendations, etc., are... at a minimum, they are not beneficial to our country for now, and most likely in the foreseeable future.
    Honestly, the DPRK has its own Juche, but it’s easy for us to cooperate with them.... I don’t see any obstacles!
    And at the same time... send the shrill foreigners... if they don’t understand, add a kick.
  5. +4
    22 February 2024 06: 39
    Who is talking about the use of North Korean missiles by the Russian armed forces? Ukraine and the United States with the “information” they threw in that was actively picked up by the Western media. The calculation is made on the fact that: firstly, Russia is supposedly running out of missiles, and secondly, Russia is violating UN sanctions against the DPRK, which means it is necessary “with the whole world” to bring it to justice again. And even if this were really so, then who but the United States would prohibit our country from buying anything for military purposes from anyone. Kyiv has been flooded with its own and European weapons, considering it legal, but at the same time they are trying to dictate terms to Moscow and put restrictions on the purchase of military products abroad. We would walk through the forest together with Kiev and Brussels.
  6. +5
    22 February 2024 07: 33
    Kim just wouldn’t have come and they wouldn’t have taken him through defense facilities. I don’t understand why so many people are shy about getting help from friends. They want to test their achievements in action, but we have a huge front, something may be missing. Is it better to be proud and hungry?!
  7. +2
    22 February 2024 07: 50
    Does it really matter what they write over the hill? As if they are not the ones supplying weapons to Ukraine. And whose rocket is this anyway with so many Western components, it seems to me that this is their product. The situation is generally strange, they write and write to us, what does it matter, I imagine if during the Second World War they had listened to Goebbels’ propaganda. Or does our leadership still want it to be “like before” after the end of the SVO? Then why was all this started?
  8. -1
    22 February 2024 08: 01
    It can be assumed that the North Korean comrades wanted to test their product in real combat conditions, when electronic warfare equipment interferes. But, I’m sure, ours didn’t agree to this, because without knowing how the Korean missile will behave, in the conditions of electronic warfare, you can “hit” civilian targets, which we so diligently avoid and vice versa, which is what the Banderaites so badly want.
  9. +4
    22 February 2024 08: 14
    Based on the markings on the components,
    Why are there no photos of these “components” marked in Korean characters? I'm waiting for test tubes of washing powder from representatives of Greater Sumeria.
  10. +2
    22 February 2024 08: 39
    In principle, the purchase of complexes from Koreans is understandable and objectively necessary.
    After all, the problem (ours) is not the number of launchers needed, but rather the consumption of missiles. We've run out of them.
    Not in the sense that there are only a few pieces left in the arsenals. I believe there are a great many of them there.
    But this set is essentially an emergency reserve “in case of nuclear war.”
    We must have a mobilization strategic reserve in case of “real” hostilities in the context of a global military clash with sworn friends.
    The purchase of Korean systems and ammunition for them could allow us to shoot imported missiles without regard to our own weapons reserves. So everything is reasonable and expedient.
    1. -1
      23 February 2024 20: 47
      Super belay and the fact that the missiles....are of the wrong system, they need their OWN launcher, few people care?
  11. +6
    22 February 2024 08: 52
    If our “former partners” supply “Nezalezhnaya” with whatever they want, why can’t the Russian Federation use the military industry from others, such as “rogue countries”. Bash on bash. soldier Weapons are never superfluous.
  12. +2
    22 February 2024 10: 41
    North Korean KN-23 OTRK in the Russian army: rumors, doubts and evidence

    Until there is official confirmation that the Russian Federation is purchasing foreign weapons, any information that contains data about this can be classified as rumors.
    There is also no point in believing in the evidence that appears in various information resources about the use of foreign weapons by the Russian Federation; everyone already knows how the West and its henchmen know how to make fakes.
    You can always doubt it, if you take into account the information hype generated in the media.
    But there is nothing wrong with using any help that can be provided to you in a war against the enemy, if this help is also free of charge.
    As the proverb of our non-partners says: “All’s fair in love and war” (Everything is possible in love and war). hi
  13. +2
    22 February 2024 10: 41
    This is still not enough; the warhead must be at least 1 ton of net explosive weight. For the destruction of airfields, bridges, factories. And launch 5-10 such missiles. in Week
  14. -1
    22 February 2024 11: 41
    For the needs of the Russian Defense Ministry, Korean missiles are not yet needed. But no one is stopping the Koreans from requesting permission to conduct combat tests from the Russian Defense Ministry. Ukraine has long agreed. So a couple of Korean missile divisions, with a guard from a couple of divisions and a convoy, to the Nikolaev area and in the direction of Odessa.
  15. +3
    22 February 2024 12: 05
    It is alleged that the KN-23 missile is being built with extensive use of foreign components. IN
    290 imported components from 26 manufacturers were found in the wreckage. Interestingly, about three-quarters of these companies are American; others are from Europe and Asia. Specific manufacturers are not named due to the sensitivity of the topic. At the same time, CAR is trying to determine how their products were able to get into the DPRK.

    The use of imported components is very unlikely and only on a small series of these products.
    It is more plausible that these components would be produced in the DPRK. Their production of microchips, both quantity and quality, is at the highest global level. To export these components, under sanctions, it is quite natural to produce copies of Western products with appropriate markings.
    The same thing happens when they produce imitation branded clothes, drinks, and so on.
    1. 0
      22 February 2024 19: 03
      Confused with China......................
    2. 0
      23 February 2024 13: 03
      The use of imported components is very unlikely and only on a small series of these products.

      Where are the manufacturers of these components located?
      I suppose everyone is in China.
      And they have long been burned out in cooperation and supplying all sorts of things to the northerners.
      It’s just that a front company in China buys all sorts of parts, among others, from neighboring factories. Then the cars seem to go to the northwest, but on the way they get a little lost, and then a special train goes to Korea.
      In fact, the component manufacturer is a completely union, neighboring state. And the rest is paperwork and bureaucracy.
  16. 0
    22 February 2024 19: 58
    Fatehi and Shahabs wouldn't hurt us either
  17. 0
    22 February 2024 20: 12
    If this information is confirmed, I will be very happy!!! It’s high time to spit in the direction of the Security Council and other draconian companies (in relation to us). It is better to transfer wheat and other products to the Koreans in exchange for missile systems than to drive our wealth to other countries (especially since we have direct railway connections with them
    1. 0
      23 February 2024 13: 07
      It's better to give the wheat to the Koreans

      Let's buy a free Korean homeland for Ivanovskaya jeans with a fleece and a bottle of Good Cola?
  18. 0
    22 February 2024 22: 24
    Not a single fact. Just speculation. The article is about nothing. author, if you have nothing better to do, just buy a beer and watch the series “Soldiers” on February 23...
  19. 0
    22 February 2024 23: 23
    Quote: Kostadinov
    It is alleged that the KN-23 missile is being built with extensive use of foreign components. IN
    290 imported components from 26 manufacturers were found in the wreckage. Interestingly, about three-quarters of these companies are American; others are from Europe and Asia. Specific manufacturers are not named due to the sensitivity of the topic. At the same time, CAR is trying to determine how their products were able to get into the DPRK.

    The use of imported components is very unlikely and only on a small series of these products.
    It is more plausible that these components would be produced in the DPRK. Their production of microchips, both quantity and quality, is at the highest global level. To export these components, under sanctions, it is quite natural to produce copies of Western products with appropriate markings.
    The same thing happens when they produce imitation branded clothes, drinks, and so on.

    Any microchip has a serial number, by which you can easily track the manufacturer, as well as the supplier.
    1. 0
      23 February 2024 19: 33
      Where is the serial number, on the back? So nothing prevents you from not printing it, scraping it off.
  20. +1
    23 February 2024 03: 23
    In general, he is a supporter of the idea that all types of weapons of the DPRK and Iran, even China, would be used and tested in the North Military District zone. Preferably with combat crews from these countries. In the end, we have only one enemy and all means are good, and if the allies are ready for such a modern conflict, then this is a + for us.
  21. +1
    23 February 2024 07: 37
    All these "fortune telling" on coffee grounds....
    Russia needs to establish good relations with the DPRK. It is very important.
    Korea has many interesting developments. The military-industrial complex is well developed.
    BUT!
    It is necessary to test both weapons and troops. Practice is required and not testing.
    Now is a great opportunity to test out the entire military structure of the DPRK on Dill.
    And this is very beneficial for us.
    It is clear that in Russia there are a lot of pro-American liberals, for whom such a development of the situation is a bone in their throat.
    So maybe it’s finally time to think about the Interests of Russia, and not the interests of the aligarchs?????
  22. 0
    23 February 2024 12: 38
    The fact is that our armed forces and industry are focused on covering all their needs independently and do not purchase

    I am amused.
    Everyone is buying something.
    Americans among Europeans, Chinese among Europeans and us, Asians among Americans. Everyone has us.
  23. 0
    23 February 2024 19: 26
    Well, why not let the Chinese, Koreans, and Iranians practice their spots? Crowds of infantry may not be sent, although this would be useful, but specialized remote activities can be carried out. It’s useful for us and for them. The Koreans' only shells and replaceable barrels are a big help. And I don’t care what the West thinks and is afraid of.
  24. 0
    23 February 2024 20: 26
    All that remains is for the “sleeping cells” to take a photo of the launcher, I’m afraid it’s not fate...
  25. -2
    23 February 2024 23: 37
    A complete fairy tale about missiles from Iran or North Korea. Launched to denigrate Russia and the above-mentioned countries. For Russia, these missiles are not interesting since they have the Iskander, which is more effective in all respects. Russia might be interested in medium-range missiles - they are not in its arsenal. But no one announced the use of MRSD)
  26. 0
    26 February 2024 10: 52
    In general, it’s worth thinking about, as in artillery, the unification of missiles for OTRK and corresponding MLRS. So that it would be possible to supply ballistic missiles to allied countries and use them from national launchers. The PRC and the DPRK, as well as Iran, have missiles similar to Iskander. As practice shows, the consumption of such missiles is high.
  27. +2
    26 February 2024 18: 53
    Quote: AC130 Ganship
    Any microchip has a serial number, by which you can easily track the manufacturer, as well as the supplier.

    The one who managed to make the chip will be able to make the number. Then trace the non-existent or duplicate number as much as you want.
  28. +2
    26 February 2024 18: 57
    Quote: MinskFox
    A complete fairy tale about missiles from Iran or North Korea. Launched to denigrate Russia and the above-mentioned countries. For Russia, these missiles are not interesting since they have the Iskander, which is more effective in all respects. Russia might be interested in medium-range missiles - they are not in its arsenal. But no one announced the use of MRSD)

    Don’t you think that the combat testing of their missiles is of interest to the DPRK and Iran?
    1. 0
      4 March 2024 00: 21
      I don’t think, to be honest, this is unprofitable for Russia, as well as for these countries.
  29. 0
    2 March 2024 11: 08
    It is doubtful that when 500 kg of explosive material was detonated on a North Korean missile, 290 imported components from 26 manufacturers, which were identified, were found in the wreckage. These components were basically going to crumble into dust.
  30. 0
    April 30 2024 23: 04
    Quote: Vladimir_2U
    and knowing the senile scrupulousness of our leadership in relation to the “opinion of the world community”

    Yes, the sanctions imposed by someone in 2019 against Kim Jong-un were not just a mistake, but a sad attempt to show the beloved West: “you and I are of the same blood.”

    But the Northern Military District began, the West did not appreciate the extravagant gesture of “good will” in the spirit of Gorbachev.
    He put our guarantor on the international wanted list, or whatever this decision of the ICC in The Hague is called.
    There were speeches about driving by the nose and deception (yet again).
  31. 0
    2 May 2024 19: 53
    Yes, why minus the Banderaites, even the Koreans or others, the main thing is the result and let them say what they want to forget about them