Press office of «Yuzhmash» published an official retraction on 14 August. The next day — one more, completed. In particular, the specialists of the enterprise attempted to question the authority of Elleman, who, according to the official biography, from 1995 to 2001 participated in the START I program for the nuclear arms reduction treaty between the Soviet Union (referring to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus) and the United States. Also the day befor there was a story in local media in which Elleman was called «the so-called expert», accused of cooperation with Russian special services, and also pivtures of his wife and children were published. As evidence, a photo of a bottle of vodka produced in Russia was shown. As a result, Elleman deleted his page on Twitter, «cleaned» the account on Facebook.
The study by the US expert began with the analysis of photographs from the launch of the North Korean Hwasong-12 and -14 missiles. He came to the conclusion that the engines used — were not look-alike those produced in Western countries, and look like a Soviet two-chamber RD-250 with a thrust of 40 tons each.
However, the launch showed that single-chamber engines similar to the RD-250, with a similar thrust level, were used in North Korean missiles. Elleman noted that Pyongyang announced the use of a new test pump in September 2016. Turbopump, according to the expert, could provide a single-chamber engine thrust of 80 tons. But it would be difficult for the engineers from the DPRK to create such an engine without demonstrating intermediate results.
Elleman said that the experience of creating such engines is available to employees of the Russian «Energomash» and the Ukrainian «Yuzhnoe». However, he rejected the idea that specialists were invited to work in the DPRK, since Pyongyang lacks the necessary production facilities. Elleman’s interest was aroused by the stories of Western experts who visited the «South» in 2016: according to them, a local engineer «at a neighboring university» boasted of creating a single-chamber engine.
It is not clear why single-chamber, rather than two-chamber engines were given to North Korea. Perhaps this demonstrates «restraint», but the single-chamber RD-250 is quite enough to get from North Korea to the US cities.
In 1993, the DPRK announced the rocket «Nodong». Then analysts came to the conclusion that the rocket design uses a bunch of engines, since to create a single-chamber engine that «provides the range and payload requirements for the Nodong missile, it will require a significant increase in the experience accumulated to date.» Experts in the early 90’s doubted that the DPRK has the potential to create missiles with a range of up to 1,300 km. This is stated in the research of the Nodong missile, conducted by David Wright (senior researcher of the Union of Concerned Scientists) and Timur Kadyshev (Center for Arms Control, Energy and Ecology at MIPT).
The scientists tried to find the answer to the question: did North Korea create a missile based on the Soviet R-17 (engine 9D21)? At least, the history of the missile program of the DPRK is tied to the copying and modernization of Soviet «kerosene», created in the «State missile center named after academician V.P. Makeev» in Russia.
Single-chamber 9D21 with turbo-pump unit, http://militaryrussia.ru/blog/topic-177.html
«In particular, North Korea could improve engines using high-pressure turbo pumps similar to those developed in China for the DF series. The increase in pressure and temperature in the combustion chamber by a relatively small amount can also lead to the required increase in the specific impulse, «Wright and Kadyshev said in a study.
The argument in favor of a bundle of small engines is cheaper than one large, and besides the requirements for the rocket’s strength, the combination of engines reduces the level of mechanical vibrations.
Now Elleman asks himself: how and where did the RD-250 engines appear in North Korea? He clarifies that in the 90’s in the DPRK appeared R-27 missiles and engines of Isaev 4D10. Pyongyang showed the first missile «Musudan» built on this technology in 2010 at a military parade. Before the launch of Hwasong-12, in March 2016, Kim Jong-un visited the missile plant. In the pictures in the background, a bundle of 4D10s was mounted on a possible prototype of ICBMs. That is, until 2017 there was not the slightest hint that North Korea owns the technology of manufacturing the RD-250 engine.
On the other hand, the Isaev 4D10 engine is a «complex closed system integrated into the rocket fuel tank». If in 2015 the RD-250 engine was installed outside, engineers would prefer to use it to launch long-range missiles.
The «Musudan» rocket was tested in 2016. Apparently, only one launch was successful. Since then, tests have not been conducted, and Pyongyang announced the termination of the tests. Elleman suggested that if the «Kim’s engineers» knew how to solve the problem, they would do it. However, most likely, they went on an alternative path.
«If in 2016, North Korea starts to search for and purchase a new engine, the search will begin in the same year, when the» Southern «completely affected by the financial deficit. This does not mean that the Ukrainian government took part in this, and not necessarily the leadership of the «Southern». Workers at the facilities of the «Southern» in Dnepropetrovsk and Pavlograd were probably the first to suffer from the consequences of economic failures,» Elleman writes.
By the way, six years ago, North Korean scouts tried to steal the technology in Ukraine, but they were caught.
But most of all, the expert worries that North Korea in the future, perhaps, will try to use a bundle of modified RD-250, which will «aim» not only on the coastline of the United States, but the entire continent. The expert believes that «Hwasong-14» is not yet a viable system, flight tests are needed for evaluation.
«Yuzhmash», engine RD-261 consists of three two-chamber units RD-250, marching to the first stage of the carrier rocket «Cyclone-4»
As they say, Kiev rejected the allegations at an early stage. In a joint statement by the leadership of Yuzhmash and South, it is rightly said that the DPRK used «absolutely not RD-250». Elleman himself in the article emphasized that it was a one-chamber modification.
«… the developer of the RD-250 engine is the Russian company NPO Energomash. Yuzhnoye has never developed such engines on self-igniting components in an open circuit. The RD-250 engine, after development, was handed over for serial production to Yuzhmash. During the serial production of the RD-250 engine, any deviation from the design documentation could not occur without agreement with its developer, NPO Energomash, the statement said.
Developed and brought the RD-250 engine not by the specialists of the Russian company Energomash, but by a «complex brigade, which, together with representatives of military acceptance, was permanently stationed in Dnepropetrovsk.»
The work was carried out under the management and control of Energomash, and in 1965 the engines allowed for Interdepartmental testing. In addition, serial production was carried out «at the plant No. 586 (Dnepropetrovsk)», that is, «Yuzhmash». This was discussed at the third international conference «Space Technologies: Present and Future», the full text of the head of the department «NPO Energomash named after Academician V.P. Glushko» by Vladimir Sudakov is published here.
«Since 1991, technological lines for the production of engines in Yuzhmash with characteristics similar to the engine RD-250, have been partially dismantled. The production line for the creation of SS-18 ballistic missiles and engines for them was completely destroyed. In view of this, at present the enterprise does not have production technologies for making rocket engines of this configuration», the refutation says.
However, the head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine Yuriy Radchenko at the «refuting» briefing stated that «such engines were produced in Ukraine before 2001 by the Yuzhmash plant according to the documentation of Energomash (Moscow)». The engines were produced at «Yuzhmash», he said, in the interests of Russia. In all, 101 rockets «Cyclone-3» and 122 — «Cyclone-2» were produced.
It is interesting that the adviser to the president of Ukraine, the director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies Vladimir Gorbulin, who was present at the briefing, invited the world community, «primarily the USA», to investigate whether Russia or China took part in the development of the DPRK missile program, as «these two countries supported and Maintain close ties with the DPRK. » Gorbulin added that the connection between North Korea and Iran needs also to be checked, which is relevant for the US agenda.
«Well, what else can we expect from them?» — Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin commented on Russia’s accusations of the possibility of delivering engines to the DPRK.
In the answers from Kiev you can notice a lot of contradictory. For example, journalists at Channel 112 report that anonymous US intelligence agents suggested that RD-250 engines could be assembled in the DPRK without participation of Ukrainian specialists, in fact, owning technology.
The Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak called the information «an absolute fake«. According to him, Russia has drawn Ukraine into the scandal. He did not bring arguments in favor of approval.
However, the Ukrainian side, in particular the State Space Committee, is not going to press charges for the publication of the «New York Times», who has published the Elleman’s analysis.
Director of the Ukrainian Center for Military and Legal Studies Alexander Musienko said that it is likely to discredit Ukraine and the company «Yuzhmash» decided in … the US, since «the US has an eye» for Yuzhmash. In his opinion, Washington is interested in producing obsolete engines for its launch vehicles.
«Over the past 7 years, the funding has been systematically reduced, the workforce and production capacities of Yuzhmash are being reduced. In 2015, employees of the enterprise went out to protest, demanding payment of arrears on wages. All this suggests that Yuzhmash is trying to lead to bankruptcy in order to reduce the price of this very important strategic asset for future privatization, «he wrote in his blog.
Thus, he refuted the refutation (sorry for the tautology) of Yuzhmash that the economic situation at the enterprise is improving.
And even refuted the statements of the leadership of Yuzhmash about the impossibility of privatization:
«And now the provocation, organized against Yuzhmash, whose aim is to discredit the state and the enterprise, is, you see, you can not cope with the management of the enterprise, your technology can be used against our enemy — North Korea. So it is better to expose Yuzhmash for privatization and allow to the US company to compete and to win. Well, what about Ukraine’s money? They will quickly disperse. And the Americans will get an enterprise that can really make them independent in the rocket and space industry,» he supposes.
Journalists of the Ukrainian «24 channel» stated that «in fact, Ukraine sold the engine software» to South Korea in June 2017. And in November 2016 — a draft design of the upper stage of the carrier rocket. That is, a sketch of the part where the payload should be located.
Earlier, the general designer of the Yuzhnoye DB Alexander Degtyarev suggested that the DPRK could «make copies» of the engine.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin responded that to make even a copy, it is necessary to have either an original or detailed drawings. «This is not a picture or a sculpture,» he said.
«Yes, and without the Ukrainian specialists, capable and ready to deploy production on a foreign technological platform, can not do. One way or another, we are talking about smuggling supplies, bypassing all existing extremely stringent international bans, «Rogozin said.
The conclusion of the head of the Ukrainian State Space Committee seems enchanting: the Cyclones were delivered to Russia, from which the Russians could remove the engines and send them to the DPRK.
By the way, in November 2015, a delegation of the National Space Agency of the United States (NASA) paid an official visit to Yuzhmash and Yuzhnoye. The main goal of the deputy administrator for manned space operations William Gerstenmaier, who led the delegation, was to discuss the expansion of cooperation in the space sector.
«Among the promising projects currently being implemented by Ukraine and the United States in the space sphere, NASA’s international program for the launch of cargo to the ISS with the help of a new medium-class Antares launch vehicle, created with Ukraine’s participation. In the Ukrainian space industry, the US offers cooperation, including in the field of rocket propulsion. In the history of Ukrainian-American relations in the space sphere, this visit is the first official visit of the NASA leadership to Ukraine,» the media reported.
And on social medias, then, it was assumed that Washington was most likely planning to withdraw from the use of Russian RD-180 engines (the US General Dynamics company acquired the right to use it in 1996) in favor of the Ukrainian RD-225 and RD-250.