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North Korea confirmed off new missiles

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North Korea confirmed off new missiles armor, weapons in October parade

  • North Korea’s October parade marking the seventy fifth anniversary of the Staff’ Occasion of Korea unveiled an array of latest weapons, from armored automobiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • The weaponry displays Pyongyang’s ongoing navy modernization, however the number of weapons and kit on show within the parade might belie the precise extent of that modernization.

In October, North Korea unveiled new navy {hardware} in a parade marking the seventy fifth anniversary of the Staff’ Occasion of Korea.

The most important attention-getters have been, unsurprisingly, the missiles, particularly the Pukguksong-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and the Hwasong-16, which, if actual, can be the biggest liquid-fueled and road-mobile missile ever made.

However earlier than these missiles appeared on the finish of the parade, North Korea’s spectacular modernization of its standard forces was on full show.


North Korea Pukguksong-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile on parade, October 10, 2020.


Troopers have been seen sporting fashionable uniforms with new camouflage patterns, ballistic helmets, vests, and even touch-screen gadgets. They have been additionally seen parading in full nuclear, organic, and chemical gear for the primary time. New automobiles designed nearly completely from scratch additionally debuted.

Chun In-bum, a former lieutenant common within the South Korean military, described the parade as “actually a ‘new look’ for the North Korean Individuals’s Military (KPA) in nearly each method.”


The parade undoubtedly exhibits that North Korea’s dedication to navy modernization is bearing fruit, but it surely stays unclear simply how far that modernization has gone.

New armored automobiles

North Korean armored fight automobiles mounted with what seems to be a howitzer, throughout a parade on October 10, 2020.


Other than the missiles, the brand new armored automobiles obtained probably the most consideration.

North Korea’s armored force has lengthy consisted of outdated Soviet fashions or barely modified domestic copies. However a very new armored combat vehicle and a new tank present that North Korea’s armored pressure is headed in a brand new course.

Whereas little is definitively recognized about these automobiles, observers famous quite a lot of issues based mostly on their look. The 8 x 8 wheeled armored fight car, for example, appears nearly precisely just like the US Military’s Stryker ICV.

Two variants have been proven: One armed with 5 anti-tank guided missile launchers which might be probably copies of the Russian 9M133 Kornet, and one other armed with a specifically designed turret that seems to accommodate a gun based mostly on the D-30 122 mm howitzer, giving it an analogous look to the M1128 Mobile Gun System.

North Korea major battle tanks on parade, October 10, 2020.


Each automobiles are probably meant to help anti-tank and fire-support operations, and assist the KPA change into extra maneuverable in an analogous option to the US Military’s brigade fight groups.

The brand new tank is significantly extra superior than earlier North Korean fashions. Its chassis appears just like that of Russia’s T-14 Armata, and the turret is harking back to the US’s M1 Abrams. It additionally seems to have quite a lot of new applied sciences, like composite armor.

Tubular launchers harking back to Russia’s Afghanit active protection system (APS) seem like mounted on the turret, that means the tank may intercept incoming projectiles. The shortage of infrared sights suggests the tank might have a thermal sight — a serious enchancment for North Korean tanks.

There additionally seemed to be smoke launchers, laser warning receivers, and crosswind sensors. Two side-mounted anti-tank missile launchers have been additionally current on the turret of the tanks, which have been unusually painted in a desert-camouflage scheme.

Accelerated modernization

North Korean a number of launch rocket techniques on parade, October 10, 2020.


There have been quite a lot of different new techniques within the parade as effectively.

Generals and senior officers have been pushed round in what regarded like mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) automobiles. New 155 mm self-propelled weapons have been rolled out, as have been new armored a number of launch rocket techniques and a brand new anti-air protection and radar corresponding to Russia’s TOR system, which fills a spot in North Korean air defenses.

The parade was the newest indication that Kim Jong Un is accelerating North Korea’s navy modernization efforts, a development that has been evident with its nuclear weapons and missiles.

“Kim Jong Un was in a position to obtain this,” Dr. Sue Mi Terry, a senior fellow and Korea Chair on the Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research, mentioned of the efforts.

“Some individuals actually underestimated him when he got here into energy,” Terry informed Insider. “However on the finish of the day, all this modernization happened underneath him.”

Kim has made strengthening his nation’s navy his prime precedence and desires to show that regardless of worldwide strain and tight sanctions, North Korea is able to fielding a robust pressure.

“They wish to present that since Singapore they have been making progress,” Terry mentioned, referring to Kim’s 2018 assembly with President Donald Trump. “That is the principle message, that they are not going to cease.”

‘A Potemkin parade’

North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missile.

Screenshot from KCTV broadcast

As spectacular as the brand new {hardware} is, there may be cause to consider that the parade might have been a show of techniques and weapons that North Korea might not even have, a minimum of not but.

“Each parade is a Potemkin parade within the sense that North Korea at all times needs to hype up what they’ve,” Terry mentioned.

For instance, regardless of the brand new tank’s spectacular electronics, not one of the packing containers containing the optics have been open, which suggests nobody may be positive what’s inside them.

Moreover, most of the techniques haven’t been seen in exams or navy workouts, which suggests they might simply be mockups — particularly the Pukguksong-4 and Hwasong-16 missiles. That is additionally the case for North Korea’s ballistic-missile submarines, the Gorae-class and Sinpo-C-class.

Lastly, North Korea merely might not have the assets to construct and keep such a big standard pressure.

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North Korea troops rejoice the seventy fifth anniversary of the founding of the ruling Staff’ Occasion of Korea on October 10, 2020.

KCNA by way of REUTERS

“I sincerely doubt that a lot of that stuff is significantly propagated among the many North Korean forces,” mentioned Dr. Bruce Bennett, a senior protection analyst on the RAND Company.

North Korea cannot fund its nuclear and standard ambitions and the financial system its elites need, Bennet informed Insider. “The cash is simply not there.”

Regardless of the hype, it is clear that navy modernization has “made some sort of progress,” Terry mentioned, but it surely’s probably that solely sure specialised models have benefited from it.

“I feel what we noticed within the parade was actually very selective modernization,” Bennett mentioned. “Take these [infantry] troopers that we noticed. I will guess they’re nearly all particular forces.”

North Korea’s Special Operations Force, one of many KPA’s 5 branches, accounts for less than 200,000 of the KPA’s almost 1.3 million active-duty personnel, however it’s anticipated to have a major function in a battle.

Nuclear leverage

The Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile earlier than a take a look at, in an undated picture launched by North Korea’s Korean Central Information Company, November 30, 2017.

Whereas the KPA’s standard navy modernization is spectacular, there may be little doubt it stays qualitatively inferior to South Korea’s navy and little question it’s inferior to the US navy.

However North Korea’s actual energy is its nuclear arsenal. Pyongyang has made clear that it has no reservations about its tactical deployment, that means it’d probably be entrance and middle in any fight state of affairs.

With an arsenal believed to be between 30 and 40 warheads, North Korea can use these weapons to destroy necessary infrastructure like airfields, navy bases, and ports, stopping reinforcement and resupply efforts.

“The North Korean strategy may impair the South Korean air functionality. It may impair our deployment functionality,” Bennet mentioned. “Then all the sudden, their standard capabilities, even when they’re solely very selectively modernized, may make a giant distinction. With [North Korea’s] particular forces on the market with that sort of tools, that will get a bit daunting for South Korea.”

That strategy would almost certainly end in North Korea’s destruction, however having the ability to do it provides Kim “super coercive functionality towards the South,” Bennet mentioned.

The KPA’s evident modernization, mixed with Pyongyang’s rising nuclear and missile arsenal, put Kim able to say himself and restrict the US’s leverage in future negotiations.

“Kim Jong-un is a really totally different sort of chief,” Terry mentioned. “I feel it is higher for us to not underestimate him.”



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