TypeMedium-range ballistic missile
Place of originNorth Korea
Service history
In service2017
Used byNorth Korea
Production history
ManufacturerNorth Korea
Length~9 m
Diameter~1.4 m
Warheadnuclear, conventional

EngineSolid fuel rocket
1,200 km ~ 2,000 km (est)
8×8 tracked TEL
Revised RomanizationBukgeukseong i-hyeong
McCune–ReischauerPukkŭksŏng i-hyŏng

Pukkuksong-2 (Chosŏn'gŭl북극성2형) also known as KN-15[1] by intelligence outside of North Korea, is a medium-range or intermediate-range ballistic missile under development by North Korea, which unlike the nation's earlier designs, uses solid fuel.[2] Described as 'nuclear-capable', its first test flight was on 12 February 2017.[3] The state-run KCNA news agency said that leader Kim Jong-un supervised the test, which was described as a success.

Analysts have described the new missile as 'more stable, more efficient, and harder to detect' than North Korea's previous liquid-fuelled designs.[4] In contrast to older, liquid-fueled rockets that take hours to prepare for launch and are easier to detect and counteract by other countries, the Pukkuksong-2 is a solid-fuel rocket that can be launched in minutes.[5][2]


The Pukkuksong-2 is an enlarged, two stage development of the Pukkuksong-1, a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The missile is canister launched from its enclosed transport container. It uses a 'cold-launching' system, which starts using compressed gas, followed by the engine igniting in mid-flight.[6] The container is a smooth cylinder inside, without rails, and on launch a series of slipper blocks could be seen to fall away from the missile. These act as bearings while the missile is projected through the close-fitting tube, a system first seen with the US Peacekeeper. A series of grid fins are deployed at the base of the missile to provide aerodynamic stability during flight. The transporter erector launcher (TEL) is a new design, conceptually similar to the Russian 2P19 TEL of the R-17M Elbrus SS-1 Scud-B; fully tracked and claimed to be of indigenous Korean manufacture, rather than previous Chinese wheeled launchers, derivatives of the ubiquitous MAZ-543 design.[7]

On its first test flight it flew 500 km (310 miles) on a deliberately inefficient trajectory.[2] Its operational range is variously estimated at between 1,200 km (750 miles)[2] and 3,000 km (1,900 miles).[4]

Other Languages
Deutsch: Pukguksong-2
한국어: 북극성 2호
日本語: 北極星2号