On Monday, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a UK-based think tank, published an article by U.S. missile expert Michael Elleman outlining his assessment that North Korea’s newest missiles have probably been made successful by incorporating the former-Soviet-designed RD-250 liquid-fueled rocket engine.
The RD-250 was used in the USSR’s R-36 ICBM program, of which the only remaining operational variant is the SS-18 (“Satan”) R-36M2 (the 10-MIRV mod, or Mod-5). The operational SS-18s have a range of about 11,000 km (6,800 miles).
The RD-250 was developed in the 1960s, when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union. Its designer was the Russian firm Glushko, and it was manufactured by KB Yuzhnoye’s affiliate Yuzhmash in Dniepropetrovsk (now called Dnipro), Ukraine. The RD-250 was recently used for space-launch rockets through the late 2000s. The Yuzhnoye enterprise is still in business, but the RD-250 is out of production. Yuzhmash produces different, more modern engines for