Development variants of the North Korean nuclear ICBM "Hwasong-13" (HS-13)
(now a canceled project)

Norbert Brügge, Germany


HS-13 (Type 2012-2013)

HS-13 WH motor

Missile diam. max. 2.00m

Historical images from the Kim Jong-il era

Hwasong-13 (Type 2015)


The six paraded missiles

Details near the SP

HS-13 has a twin combustor main engine ! Rear of  R-27 SLBM  WH separation

Meanwhile, it is fairly certain that the HS-13 used two engines with the associated two Verniers from the R-27 (RSM-30). In any case, North Korea has no access to the engine 3D37 from the
RSM-40 "Vysota". The thrust of two 4D10 (or 4D18 from the
R-27K ) is however equivalent in the thrust to one 3D37 engine. Along with the four Verniers  maybe a thrust of 525 kN (s.l.)
is achieved. The fuel combination is UDMH / N2O4. A mystery remains the engine of the second stage. But, it could also be the 4D19 from the R-27K.  A test of the twin-engines of the first stage
of the HS-13 has not been shown so far.


 10.10.2015: The completely new HS-13 (KN-14) is an extended RSM-40 "Vysota" + PBV

Explosive device

What will here filled ?

Separation area Hwasong (HS)-13

The new HS-13 (KN-14) missile is markedly different from the previous model. However, the basis is still the RSM-40 "Vysota" (not RSM-50 "Volna"). The first stage of the RSM-40 was extended.
The ominous explosive device between first and second stage is clearly shifted forward. The second stage now is identical to the RSM-40. New is the homemade PBV with the WH.


Hwasong-13 (Type 2012-2013

The HS-13 on the parade on July 26, 2013

  The same vehicles as in 2012, but in a new outfit


The new North-Korean missile was shown in Pyongyang during celebrations for the centennial of the birth of late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung on April 15,  2012. The TEL-launch missile, made of three stages, was unveiled at the military parade. The North Korean designation for this missile is
It is estimated that the missile is about 19 meters long. First and second stage have a diameter of  1.90 m. Then the third stage has 1.25 m diameter. The used 8-axle TEL is a changed Chinese special-made WS51200.

Chinese lumber transporter WS51200



The paraded six HS-13 and eight "Musudan" missiles




Analysts estimate that - at least for the first stage of the rocket - a technology of the Soviet R-27 SLBM is used (the main engine is placed inside of the fuel tank).
An application of the R-27 technology would be not a possibility because about 250 kN thrust of a R-27 engine is not enough for this monster. Two engines to combine is technically in this case difficult.

An acceptable thrust of about 500 kN has the engine of an old Russian R-29 SLBM
 (RSM-40 Vysota) with similar technology.

My analysis

Attention analysts, the missile is certainly not yet complete, but not a fake!
I think that the KN-08 is not a fake, and North Korea working on developing a LRBM. The technology is based on a proven (!!) template. North Korea does not have the know-how and financial resources to develop such a complicated missile with new liquid rocket engines.

With high probability is the technology not Chinese. China has never developed a "submerged engine" technology, or used. Furthermore, it is against China's doctrine such significant potential of rocket technology to export. China has supplied only complete missiles to Pakistan and Saudi-Arabia (Shaheen, DF-3).
The delivery of the large TELs to North Korea must based on a "misjudgment".

Note: UN investigators recently concluded that North Korea had six Chinese lumber transporter WS51200 bought, and in TELs (Transporter Erector Launchers) for its KN-08 ballistic missiles converted.

The noted differences between the rockets - missing retro-rockets, different length of cable ducts and different positions of covers - are optical illusions or evidence for the incompleteness of the rocket. A slightly shifted retaining band on one rocket (No. 218) is not relevant for the analysis.

But a puzzle for my proposal is the interrupted cable duct between first and second stage. Why is this interruption on No.18 so short?  It is impossible to find an interstage section.

216 216 218 218

Cable duct comparison

Want they to confuse us, or is it a mock-up. Is it really a mock-up, then has but this missile a serious technological background.

Analysts argue that the use of UDMH/N2O4 as fuel for the road-mobile missile KN-08 is no option because the risk is not acceptable. But the refueling would be possible before the launch in the erect position !


New interisting details: Weldings, small nozzle, inlet for drain " fuel pump"

Soviet RSM-40 (Vysota) propulsion  

RSM-40 (Vysota) second stage engine 3D38

RSM-40 (Vysota) first stage engine 3D37


Some thoughts on the construction of the HS-13:

If the HS-13 is in fact a RSM-40 "Vysota", there are several different changes in the area of the fuel tanks.
Between first and second stage two reinforced tank segments are inserted by about 0.5 and 1.0 m length.

After burning out of the first stage the separation of the second stage is carried between these segments. That means, the upper segment with its cable duct, is solid connected with the second stage.

This is different from the RSM-40 in which the separation takes place above the combustion chamber of the second stage, out of a continuous first stage tank.

The two hatches are not indicative of a interstage between two stages. In the fabrication of the Russian SLBM there are numerous openings in the tanks (left: RSM-50 "Volna").

The cable duct is in contrast to the 40-RSM in fact interrupted. There is obviously a different solution for the electrics.

The striking detail at the upper segment placed, is a mechanism for releasing the temporary fixing of the second stage combustor.

 Analysis by Schmucker Technologie, Germany:
“My opinion is that it’s a big hoax” said Markus Schiller, an aerospace engineer in Munich, to the intercontinental and medium-range missiles displayed in the North Korean capital in April 2012 and again two weeks ago.
For example, he noted, there was no evidence on the rear of the Hwasong-13 of retro rockets necessary to separate the stages - critical if an ICBM is to reach sub-orbital space and strike distant targets.
Schiller also said varied features on the rockets - such differing placement of small guidance nozzles and hatches - are telling. They make him believe that these are not even training "simulators" but "crude fakes."
A photo montage (right) from a July 26, 2013, military parade shows a purported Hwasong-13, with the area where retro-rockets should be mounted highlighted, along with close-ups showing that forward nozzles on the rocket bodies of two individual missiles were placed in different positions.

My comment
: The "retro-rockets" are not retro-rockets ! Why should be retro-rockets inside attached. Therefore, it must have another function. Normally, two indentations are side by side. On both images is mysteriously only one different of two indentations present.
Nevertheless, there is no reason to dismiss the vehicle as a hoax. Such a hassle for a fake? Never.

Quote: "Retro-rockets were placed in different positions"