A quick note about what this thread is and is not.- This IS a thread covering a great deal of information about the military history (as it relates), development and deployment of the armed forces in North Korea. It's a thread with information to stand as reference material as well as data that won't help anyone sleep any better. At the same time, other areas will help some understand that areas of the threat are badly sensationalized in the media. It's all a matter of, quite literally, where you stand in relation to North Korea.
* General Summary *
* Air Force or Air Farce? *
Although many of its aircraft would not look out of place in aviation history museums, this does not mean that some of the older aircraft types do not have significant tactical value. One such aircraft is the Soviet built Antonov AN-2 (introduced 1947), the largest biplane ever designed. Capable of carrying at least 12 paratroopers, the AN-2’s biplane design has many interesting advantages, being able to take off and land on rough surface runways from very short distances (just 560ft required), fly very slowly (the stall speed is just 30mph), and as a result of its low speed flight capability, fly safely at extremely low altitude. Interestingly, its light airframe, canvas skin and single propeller engine also give it a surprisingly high degree of stealth capabilities.
Chronic fuel shortages have meant that pilots have been reported to have as little as 20 hours training per year, giving them little experiencing in either defensive or offensive aerial flight. In addition, North Korea’s moribund economy has meant it has long been unable to purchase modern jets of any substantial quantity, a problem that will continue even if the economic situation improves due to UN sanctions that prevent the legitimate sale of modern fighter jets. And while theoretically possessing a large air force, much of the equipment has been shown by satellite images to be in a state of decay, with inventory often stripped of parts, left in un-flyable condition.
Following the death of Kim Jong-il, several reports emerged which said that the North Korean air force was flying far more training missions than was normal. During winter up to 650 training flights per day were recorded, well up from the 100 or so average throughout 2011. The training flights in the earlier part of 2012 were also reportedly more antagonistic than usual, with DPRK forces flying so close to the DMZ that South Korean Air Force reportedly had to scramble aircraft several times in response. These training flights also employed North Korea’s best inventory, its fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets and SU-25 close-air-support jets
Topography: Approximately 80 percent of the land area is made up of mountain ranges
separated by deep, narrow valleys. All mountains on the Korean Peninsula higher than 2,000
meters above sea level are in North Korea. The highest peak, on the northern border with China,
is Paektu-san at 2,744 meters above sea level. There are wide coastal plains on the west coast
and discontinuous coastal plains on the east coast.
Thirty three active and one inactive EW sites provide the DPRK with early warning radar coverage, used for SAM system target acquisition and track handoff, and GCI control of fighter units. These EW sites are primarily consolidated in the southern half of the nation, providing substantial coverage of the capital and the DMZ. Identified EW radars operating in the DPRK are predominately Soviet-era systems
There are currently fifty eight active strategic SAM sites located in the DPRK. The following image depicts the locations of these sites. S-75 sites are red, S-125 sites are light blue, and S-200 sites are purple. As can be seen, the overwhelming majority of the deployed strategic SAM assets are located along the DMZ and the coasts.
North Korea's test launch of a KN-06 surface-to-air missile into the West Sea early this month appears to have been successful, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said at a hearing by the National Assembly's Defense Committee on Monday.
North Korea has a variety of rockets mounted on trucks, mainly adapted from Russian and Chinese designs. These are direct descendants of the Katyusha or "Stalin Organ" rockets of WWII.
They also developed some new rockets of their own. These are large caliber, 240mm (9.4 inch), and have a range estimated to be at least 25 miles. Each 17-ft-long rocket has a warhead containing about 100 pounds of explosives, though there are reportedly also chemical and incendiary versions. The launchers, which have also been exported Iran, are mounted on a local version of an Isuzu 6x6 truck.
The 170mm (6.7") self-propelled gun, designated M1978 or M1987 is also an NK special, thought to have been derived from 1950's Russian coastal guns. The long-barreled weapon is mounted on a tank chassis, and can fire a rocket-assisted shell out to forty miles. When they were introduced in the 1978 they were claimed to have the longest range of any artillery piece in the world. The later version, first seen by Western analysts in 1987 and therefore called the M1987, carries 12 rounds of ammunition on board. The gun is externally mounted, leaving the crew exposed. The North Koreans exported these to Iran, where they saw use during the Iran-Iraq war; like the 240mm rocket launcher, they guns are made by North Korea's Third Machine Industry Bureau.
But North Korean forces are arrayed along the demilitarized zone with 10,000 artillery pieces capable of reaching Seoul, said Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst now at the Heritage Foundation.
That proximity would let them cause a lot of casualties and damage in the initial stages of an attack. The North Koreans have about 1.1 million troops in their armed forces. Three-quarters of them are staged within 60 miles of the DMZ, Klingner said.
The most significant development in the ground forces has been the continued deployment of long-range artillery systems (240-mm multiple rocket launchers and 170-mm self-propelled guns) near the DMZ. Although these deployments are not yet complete, the North is continuing production of these long-range systems. The increasing number of long-range artillery systems gives North Korea the ability to provide devastating indirect firepower in support of ground force operations. Pyongyang has deployed over 10,000 artillery systems, an increase of almost 10 percent over the past 15 years, in addition to over 2,300 multiple rocket launchers. Most of the artillery is self-propelled and can support a rapidly moving operation.
The South Korean military faces a formidable and unpredictable foe in the North. North Korea maintains the fourth-largest military in the world, and possesses significant conventional and asymmetric capabilities, Thurman said.
With more than 1 million personnel, the North Korean army has more than 13,000 artillery systems, more than 4,000 tanks and more than 2,000 armored personnel carriers. North Korea’s air force has more than 1,700 aircraft, and its navy has more than 800 surface combatants. “And more than 70 percent of this combat power is positioned within 90 miles of the Demilitarized Zone,” Thurman said.
The North Korean Taepo Dong program traces its origins to the No Dong medium range ballistic missile 1 program of the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, North Korea initiated the development of two ballistic missile programs known to the West as TaepoDong 1 and Taepo Dong 2.2 The supposed design objectives for the Taepo Dong 1 system were to deliver a 1,000 to 1,500 kg warhead to a range of 1,500 to 2,500 km and for the Taepo Dong 2 to deliver the same warhead to a 4,000 to 8,000 km range.
For the Taepo Dong 1 to achieve greater
range its payload would have to be decreased. Some analysts speculate that a reduced-payload configuration could deliver a 200 kg warhead into the U.S. center and a 100 kg warhead to Washington D.C., albeit with poor accuracy.15
Some experts voice concern over North Korea’s level of military spending in relation
to its missile program. North Korea reportedly spends as much as 40 percent of its gross
domestic product (GDP) on the military.25 In 2004, U.S. Forces Korea commander,
General Leon J. LaPorte, reportedly stated that North Korea’s military investments are
primarily in their nuclear, biological, chemical and missile programs in order to gain an
“asymmetrical” advantage over U.S and South Korean forces.26
North Korea's nuclear and missile programs
Aug. 1998: Test fires Taepodong-1, its first long-range rocket
Sept. 1999: Pledges to freeze long-range missile tests amid improving U.S. ties
Mar. 2005: Ends moratorium on missile tests, blames "hostile" policy of U.S.
Jul. 5, 2006: Test fires long-range Taepodong-2, which fails after launch
Jul. 15, 2006: U.N. Security Council demands Pyongyang halt missile program
Oct. 9, 2006: Conducts first underground nuclear test
Oct.15, 2006: U.N. Security Council demands halt to missile, nuclear tests, bans sale of weapons
Apr. 5, 2009: Launches long-range rocket that lands in Pacific; U.S. says no satellite placed in orbit
Apr. 13, 2009: U.N. Security Council condemns launch, tightens sanctions; Pyongyang quits six-party nuclear talks
May 2009: Conducts second underground nuclear test
Jun. 2009: Security Council imposes tougher sanctions
Feb. 2012: Announces moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile programs in exchange for U.S. food aid
Apr. 2012: Launches long-range rocket, which falls apart shortly after lift-off
Dec. 2012: Launches Unha-3 rocket, declares success in placing satellite in orbit
Jan. 2013: U.N. Security Council condemns December rocket launch
Feb. 2013: Conducts third nuclear test
Who wins out of this conflict .... China, when she marches in and secures both NK and SK in the name of world peace. What can the US do after that .... nothing, nothing at all. It is China who wants this to explode so she can rid the Asian land mass of direct Western influence.
Hmmm... A colt Vs a....
Originally posted by FraternitasSaturni
you kinda left out a pretty good heli, 2 uavs, since the us still uses the F-5 you left out the "more than 150" 21's they have... (and the 21s are very capable fighters specially on that terrain at low altitude) and you mentioned a biplane, the antonov labeling it as "stealth" when 1) its a "transport" aircraft not "stealth" and 2) they do have a real antonov transport aircraft which btw is the same that russia still uses today.
Speaking of transport, you missed also the fact that they have A LOT of transport, I'm sure you know what that means... and air superiority is not quite what they have in mind - it only does so much - it takes ground troops to take over like NK wants to - they're objective is to "unify" the koreas, not to obliterate and carpet bomb everything on their path and then have it all silky smooth - its "their" country, they cant act like the US does in other people's countries.
We do know that NK is not really on par with the US BUT you dont need to downplay it so much.
Originally posted by FraternitasSaturni
Since the US still keeps their F-5s too...