North Korea tested the Hwasongpo-16na hypersonic missile system

North Korea tested the Hwasongpo-16na hypersonic missile system
Preparations for the first launch of the Hwaseongpo-16na rocket

The DPRK is actively developing its missile weapons and regularly demonstrates new interesting models. So, the other day, at one of the Korean test sites, the first test launch of the new solid-propellant missile Hwasongpo-16na, carrying a hypersonic gliding warhead, took place. Reportedly, the missile and its combat equipment completed the assigned flight mission and confirmed the calculated level of tactical and technical characteristics.

First start

The first test launch of the new Hwasongpo-16na rocket (also designated "16B") took place on April 2. The event was reported the next day by the Korean Central News Agency. The official message provides basic information about the event and some characteristics of the promising product. In addition, photographs and video footage of the preparation and launch were published.

Reportedly, the launch of the new Hwasongpo-16na missile was carried out from one of the test sites in the Pyongyang area. The tests were personally supervised by Head of State Kim Jong-un. Before the launch, he inspected an experimental missile system and ammunition with special equipment, and also heard reports from leaders of the army and defense industry. Then the DPRK leader gave the order to carry out the launch.

According to KCNA, the purpose of the first test launch of the Hwaseongpo-16na was to confirm the design characteristics of the missile system and check the reliability of this product. The flight program of the missile was designed in such a way as to show general flight data, work out the gliding flight of the warhead, demonstrate its ability to perform lateral and vertical maneuvers, etc.

In order to ensure the safety of the tests, and also, obviously, to hide the real parameters of the complex, the tests were carried out with artificial restrictions. Due to the required operating mode of the rocket engines and the special trajectory of the rocket in the active section, the total flight range was reduced to 1 thousand km. At the same time, the complex demonstrated the operation of all systems and actually simulated a flight to the full design range.

By order of Kim Jong-un, the combat crew prepared the missile system for launch and then launched the missile. The product set off along a given trajectory in a northeast direction. Having completed the flight program, the hypersonic warhead fell in a given area of ​​the East (Japan) Sea. The flight range was estimated at 1000 km. The maximum altitude of the trajectory is 101,1 km.

It is reported that the first launch of the Hwaseongpo-16na rocket was successful and completed its objectives. It is separately noted that he did not threaten neighboring countries. Based on the results of the test, the head of state highly praised the work of the defense industry and its necessity for national security. Kim Jong-un also recalled the need to continue the development of new weapons.

Material part

Published materials, including photos and videos of tests, make it possible to understand the main features of the promising Hwasongpo-16na missile system and determine its approximate capabilities. At the same time, the most interesting information about the new North Korean development is not yet available - and one can expect that it will never be revealed at all.

From the point of view of general architecture, the Hwasongpo-16na complex is similar to other DPRK missile systems. To reduce risks during deployment and combat duty, the complex is made mobile. It is built on a seven-axle special chassis with high payload capacity. Such a vehicle must have high mobility and agility to be on duty “on wheels” and reach a given launch position as quickly as possible.

The launcher with a container for the missile is placed on the chassis. At the same time, the missile’s combat equipment could not be fitted into the TPK, and a separate casing with an opening lid, placed in the front of the chassis, was provided for it.

The Hwasongpo-16na uses a new two-stage rocket with solid propellant engines. Combat equipment in the form of a hypersonic glide combat unit is attached to the second stage. Due to its large size, the unit is mounted openly and without any fairing.

The characteristics of the rocket and the complex as a whole are unknown. IN the news from KCNA for the Hwasongpo-16na a “medium-long range” is stated, but without specifying exact values ​​or ranges. At the same time, the experimental missile system showed a range of 1 thousand km - with artificially limited rocket parameters and corresponding trajectory features. All this indicates the possibility of achieving significantly greater ranges, up to 2-3 thousand km.

Rocket launch

The hypersonic warhead for the Hwasongpo-16na is practically no different from other similar products from other missile systems of Korean and foreign design. It has a traditional triangular plan with a flat bottom and a curved upper surface, and is also equipped with several stabilizers in the tail. Length - several meters. It will not be possible to estimate the mass.

Such a warhead carries out flight according to the “acceleration and planning” principle. The launch vehicle gives it an initial speed and brings it to the required height, after which the block flies to the target independently and only due to the energy received. During flight, the product performs maneuvers in course and altitude. Due to the latter, it maintains the required speed and gets the opportunity to fly further.

In official materials from recent tests, flight diagrams were included in the frame. Despite the poor quality, it is clear from them that the flight was not carried out in a straight line, but with a slight maneuver away from the target area and with a subsequent return to the optimal trajectory. To fly 1 thousand km, the combat unit had to make two vertical maneuvers reaching altitudes of 101,1 and 72,3 km. At the same time, there was a reserve of energy, speed and altitude for new such maneuvers and an additional increase in range.

On board the warhead there must be a control system corresponding to its tasks. The product requires autonomous navigation instruments, an autopilot, and direct flight controls. Obviously, the DPRK industry was able to create such devices, and now they have been tested in a real flight.

The combat load of the hypersonic unit for the Hwasongpo-16 is unknown. Such an aircraft can carry nuclear and high-explosive warheads or have no separate warhead at all and hit the target using kinetic energy. At the same time, the top leadership of the DPRK mentions the new complex in the context of strategic nuclear deterrence processes. This suggests that the new warhead will still receive nuclear equipment.

Not the first of its kind

It should be recalled that the Hwasongpo-16na complex is not the first North Korean development in the field of hypersonic weapons. Back in the fall of 2021, a similar complex of a different composition was demonstrated at an exhibition in Pyongyang. Subsequently, this product, called “Hwasongpo-8,” was demonstrated at parades.

According to known data, Hwasongpo-8 was launched for testing in September 2021, shortly before its first display at the exhibition. Since then, they have carried out at least 4-5 test launches against mock targets in the Sea of ​​Japan. The Korean hypersonic missile system predictably attracted attention and received different assessments from foreign experts.

North Korea's two well-known hypersonic missile systems have the same architecture and are similar in appearance. There is a fundamental difference, however, which lies in the design of the rocket. The older Hwasongpo-8 complex uses a two-stage liquid-propellant rocket, while the new 16B has developed a solid-fuel munition.

Kim Jong-un watches the launch of the Hwasongpo-16 rocket. In the background are the estimated route and flight profile.

Development trends

For obvious reasons, all the details of the Hwaseongpo-16na project remain unknown and, very likely, will never be disclosed. However, we can already note its main features related both to the design of the complex and to the prospects for the development of the DPRK missile forces.

First of all, the Hwasongpo-16na project shows that the North Korean defense industry continues to work on the development of hypersonic technologies and weapons based on them. We are talking, at a minimum, about mastering the serial production of gliding warheads. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that they developed their own version of combat equipment for the new complex.

You also need to pay attention to the rocket used as a warhead carrier. The Hwaseongpo-16na project used solid fuel engines. The DPRK only recently began to use solid propellant rocket engines in missile systems of this class, but the number of such developments is constantly growing. It seems that Pyongyang is planning to increase the share of solid-fuel missiles or, in the future, completely switch to them.

Both of these trends clearly show the DPRK’s progress in missile technology, incl. in the most challenging and promising areas. Missile systems with hypersonic equipment, which have special combat qualities, are being developed and tested. Such equipment could already enter service and complement other missile systems. Its appearance in the troops is definitely a positive event and should improve the country’s defense capability.
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  1. +1
    April 5 2024 03: 57
    Whether or not Real Korea can develop full-fledged hypersound is unclear, but it can still troll/intimidate.
    And supply shells too. drinks
    1. +2
      April 6 2024 19: 17
      Well, in exchange for shells, they could share some technologies... And, of course, grain. I don't think I'm so smart
      1. 0
        April 6 2024 22: 28
        Kim Jong-un watches a rocket launch

        He's a great guy.
        He keeps track of new products, personally “kicks” generals and scientists so that they don’t sit, but work.
        But those responsible for the launch are risking it (and the environment, where there are a lot of generals) in vain. The launch of an experimental rocket must be observed from a place where fragments will not fly in the event of an explosion. And not from a wooden gazebo in an open field.
  2. +5
    April 5 2024 03: 59
    Unlike disco dancers, North Koreans are much more convincing in their abilities
  3. +3
    April 5 2024 04: 00
    Congratulations to the Korean comrades on the successful launch! Already in 14, we should have given a damn about UN sanctions and helped Korea. And now to officially declare that we do not support UN sanctions!
  4. +5
    April 5 2024 04: 46
    The west coast cowboys are probably starting to scratch their heads with concern. wink
  5. +1
    April 5 2024 05: 03
    The QR code on the rocket is interesting). And the president is wearing bell-bottom trousers)))
  6. -1
    April 6 2024 01: 51
    Hmmm. The Juche monarchy is certainly surprising, both in good and bad ways.
  7. 0
    April 6 2024 03: 54
    Korean Zheg Lov: "Your number 16, na." wink
  8. 0
    April 6 2024 19: 15
    This is what the Juche idea means... They eat grass, but strengthen the defense.... Everything is like under Stalin.
    And that’s who we need to help with free grain... And not distribute it to the stinking Negritos, who don’t remember goodness
  9. 0
    April 6 2024 20: 45
    I can’t read this would-be author, even if it kills me. This is a diagnosis. I am now sure that this is not so much a struggle for the number of “bookoffs”, it is a lifestyle. I wonder if the author himself re-reads this nonsense before sending the “material to print”? I had 2 newspapers in my village, I communicated both there and there, there seemed to be adequate people: journalists, layout designers, and other personnel. I am SURE that they would look at Kirill very CAREFULLY if such material was presented. and if this were repeated 100500 times, they would hand it over to Kashchenko
  10. 0
    3 May 2024 23: 16
    The Armed Forces of Ukraine must test weapons