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The North Korean Missile Threat

Update: I forgot to include a link for the Nodong launch facility. [Stop smirking, you’re adults.]

This is all open source, okay? No super secret spy stuff involved, it is on the Internet.

In the beginning there was the Vergeltungswaffe and the V-1 was looked at by Thor and adjudged: “It’s kind of wimpy isn’t it. A sort of model airplane that isn’t very accurate. I think it needs some work.”

And they labored and produced the V-2, and Thor said: “That’s more like it! The proper shape, know what I mean [nudge, nudge, wink, wink]?”

And the V-2 was so pleasing that it’s basic design was used to build other weapons.

The Russians scooped up all kinds of technicians who had worked on V-2 and gave them the opportunity to continue their work or die. They decided to work and built a copy that had the creative name of Ракета-1 [Rocket-1]. Some improvements were made to reduce the annoying habit of blowing up at the wrong time and it became Rocket-11 [don’t ask about models 2 through 10, okay], which NATO called Scud, because it names surface-to-surface missiles with nouns beginning with the letter “S”.

Half the planet has Scud missiles now. They are liquid fueled and portable, which translates to cheap, and most people want to fight with their neighbors, so the short range is not a problem. There are some minor concerns about red fuming nitric acid, which eats through just about everything, and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, which will kill you if it makes skin contact, but that’s why armies have privates.

Other people have bigger dreams, so they produce bigger versions of the Scud, which flies farther and carries more weight. Not a lot of science involved, just making the parts a little bigger and carrying more fuel in the bigger tanks. The North Koreans went one step further and made the little Scud, the “payload” for the big Scud and produced a two-stage missile.

Having managed to reproduce the weapons capability of World War Two Germany, the North Koreans decided to go further and produce a real ICBM, an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, just like the big kids. They tried to build a smaller Scud, but that wouldn’t work, so they are trying to develop a small solid-fuel rocket for their third stage.

For some reason, no one wants to help them, so they are on their own.

They have some problems. Every time they have a test they have to haul everything to their test site on trucks over unpaved roads and build launch ramps. The ramps keep getting destroyed when they launch their rockets. They have no permanent facilities at the site. There seems to be a problem with the multi-stage rockets of the second stage igniting early causing the whole thing to explode. There don’t seem to be too many of the solid fuel rockets, and it is unknown how many have actually been test flown, given the number that have been destroyed by the stage-two problems. There is only one known successful test of the entire system, to launch a satellite. The orbit was wrong, and the satellite was destroyed, but all three stages seem to have worked.

Given their financial situation and the lack of parts and people, I think the North Koreans should be encouraged to test more missiles, and that “Dear Leader” should attend the testing. Maybe they could arrange a photo op of him fueling a missile.


1 andante { 07.06.06 at 1:21 pm }

As a gesture of goodwill, why don’t we just turn over our SDI program to them? They couldn’t do much worse, and it will keep Dear Leader busy for untold hours.

2 Bryan { 07.06.06 at 1:59 pm }

Actually, there are rumors that on occasion countries have been “given” technology that it already known to be unworkable, but they are given the paperwork at a point before the “fatal flaw” is discovered.

Even North Korea has figured out that SDI doesn’t work.