The Hwasong 5 was the first ballistic missile to reach true production status within the DPRK. In comparison to the prototypes, it was modified slightly to conform to DPRK production practices and capabilities, and probably included a small number of more modern components. While the external dimensions of the Hwasong 5 are “almost identical” to the R-17E, it has a 10 to 15 percent increase in operational range compared to the original—approximately 320 km versus 280 km with a 1,000-kg warhead.
Development of North Korea's Missile into Space Rocket
The CEP of the Hwasong 5 is not known with any certainty, but it is believed to be similar to that of the original R-17E (e.g., 500 to 800 m). Over the course of its production, numerous changes were apparently incorporated into the Hwasong 5 design. For example, earlier models were equipped with a copy of the R-17E strap-down guidance system (or original guidance sets covertly obtained from the Soviet Union or, more likely, from other countries with Scud inventories), while later models used an improved indigenous guidance system.
It is likely that the DPRK also incorporated minor changes to its copy of the Isayev 9D21 rocket engine. Concurrent with Hwasong 5 production, DPRK engineers worked to develop new warheads for the system, including HE, cluster, chemical, and possibly biological. These changes undoubtedly resulted in various sub-models, but the designations and details of these are not known.
Low-rate series production of the Hwasong 5 is believed to have begun in 1985, followed by full-scale production some time in 1986. The production rate for the Hwasong 5 is believed to have averaged four to five per month during the early years of the program. Given, however, the number of missiles exported and those required for KPA usage, the production rate probably reached eight to ten per month during 1987 to 1988. The Hwasong 5 provided the KPA with the ability to strike targets throughout the northern two-thirds of the ROK. In 1989, Hwasong 5 production was probably phased out in favor of the Hwasong 6.
Details of the establishment of operational Hwasong missile units within the KPA are unclear. It is believed that some time during 1984 or 1985, the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces (MPAF) established a Hwasong missile regiment subordinate to the Artillery Command. Personnel for this new unit were apparently drawn from the special missile test-and-evaluation unit established earlier. It is probable that this regiment was initially deployed near P’yongyang and was later moved south to the area of Chiha-ri (south-southeast of P’yongyang and approximately 50 km north of the Demilitarized Zone [DMZ]). Additional reports of an operational Hwasong unit stationed in the Kilchu–Ch’ongjin area (i.e., Hamgyong-bukto Province) suggest one of several possibilities:(55)
* the Hwasong missile regiment deployed independent battalions to operating locations in different parts of the country;
* the initial deployment of Hwasong missile units was by battalion, not regiment; or
* the special missile test-and-evaluation unit in the Musudan-ri area also served as an operational missile unit.
North Korea has tried to transport with a new developed space launch vehicle, called "Unha-2", the satellite Kwangmyongsong-2 in an earth-orbit. North Korea is however in fact a further owner of a rocket for the space transport.
Febr. 24, 2009 -- North Korea announced it was preparing to launch a satellite into earth-orbit. "Full-scale preparations are underway at a satellite launch site,” a North Korean space committee spokesman said through the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in a statement first reported by South Korea's semi-official Yonhap News Agency. The Kwangmyongsong-2 satellite would launch on the Unha-2 rocket, he said. The "experimental communications satellite" will be launched at Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground in the country's northeast region.
March 12, 2009 -- North Korea's state news agency said that the country has informed the organizations "of necessary information for the safe navigation of planes and ships" amid preparations for a satellite launch. The report did not say when a launch would take place. North Korea plans to launch a satellite between April 4 and 8, Yonhap News reported.
March 30, 2009 -- New satellite images showing the current status on North Korean rocket launch facility in Musudan-ri. The picture showing what appears to be a large three-stage rocket stack erected by a gantry, confirming news reports indicating an imminent launch.