North Korea’s New Rail Missile System Built to Strike “Threatening Forces”

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The missiles fired by North Korea on Wednesday were a test of a new “on-board missile system” designed as a potential counterattack against all forces threatening the country, the state-run KCNA news agency reported on Thursday.

The missiles traveled 800 kilometers (497 miles) before hitting a target off the east coast of North Korea, KCNA said.

South Korean and Japanese officials on Wednesday said they had detected the launch of two ballistic missiles from North Korea just days after testing a cruise missile that analysts said could have nuclear capabilities.

The North Korean launches came on the same day that South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), becoming the first nuclear-free country to develop such a system.

The two Koreas have embarked on an increasingly intense arms race, with both sides unveiling better-performing missiles and other weapons.

The testing of the nuclear-weapon North Korea, however, aroused international condemnation and concern, with the United States claiming it violated UN Security Council resolutions and posed a threat to the United States. neighbors of Pyongyang.

North Korea has steadily developed its weapons systems, raising the stakes in stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for easing US sanctions.

The North Korean test was conducted by an embarked missile regiment that was staged earlier this year, according to the KCNA report.

“The railroad-based missile system serves as an effective counterattack capable of dealing a severe and simultaneous blow to threatening forces,” said Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean marshal and member of the Politburo Presidium of the United Nations. The ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, which oversaw the test, according to KCNA.

Photos released by state media showed an olive-green missile rising over a column of smoke and flames from the roof of a train parked on tracks in a mountainous area.

South Korea had reported that the missiles were fired from the central interior area of ​​Yangdok.

“Rail mobile missiles are a relatively inexpensive and reliable option for countries looking to improve the survivability of their nuclear forces,” wrote on Twitter Adam Mount, senior researcher at the Federation of American Scientists. “Russia did it. The United States considered it. It makes a lot of sense for North Korea.

Mount and other analysts said the system is likely constrained by North Korea’s relatively limited and at times unreliable rail network, but could add another layer of complexity for a foreign military seeking to keep up and down. destroy the missiles before they are fired.

According to KCNA, Pak said there are plans to expand the Railroad Missile Regiment to a brigade-sized force in the near future, and to conduct training to gain “operational experience for a real war “.

The military is expected to prepare tactical plans to deploy the system to different parts of the country, Pak said.

It is unusual to see the wide variety of missile launch systems and launch platforms that North Korea is developing, said Ankit Panda, senior researcher at the United States-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“It is not very cost effective (especially for a state with very limited resources) and much more operationally complex than a lighter, vertically integrated force,” he wrote on Twitter.

The rail system presented on Wednesday could possibly set the stage for the development of a system capable of launching a larger, nuclear-weapon-equipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Panda added.

He also noted that some of the missile systems presented by North Korea may relate to a “technology demonstration”, which may not be fully deployed.

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