Newly released images from the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) indicate that North Korea has ramped up the production of its KN-24 short-range ballistic missiles. These missiles are being mounted on both tracked armored and military truck chassis, showcasing a significant increase in their military capabilities. This development in their armament production was observed during a facility visit by North Korea’s leader, Kim Yo Jong.
The KN-24 is a mobile ballistic missile system that can be mounted on a tracked armored chassis.
Recent developments regarding North Korea’s production and supply of ballistic missiles have been significant. North Korea has been actively involved in supplying ballistic missiles and missile launchers to Russia, which have been used in Russia’s ongoing military activities in Ukraine. This was confirmed by the White House, with US National Security spokesperson John Kirby describing it as a “significant and concerning escalation” in the conflict.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has emphasized the importance of these missile systems, urging continuous production in light of what he perceives as a grave military situation. This push for missile production is part of North Korea’s broader strategy to enhance its national defense capabilities. The missiles in question include the Hwasong-17 and Hwasong-18 ICBMs, which are believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. The Hwasong-18, in particular, is noteworthy for being North Korea’s first solid-fuel ICBM, offering advantages in mobility and launch readiness over liquid-fuel types.
The transfer of these missiles to Russia marks a notable development in international military dynamics, with implications for global security and diplomacy. The U.S. has indicated that it will respond to these arms transfers with additional sanctions against those involved. This situation continues to evolve and has become a point of concern for many countries due to the potential impact on regional and global stability.
The KN-24 is a North Korean short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) with characteristics that make it a notable addition to the country’s military capabilities. First tested in August 2019, the KN-24 resembles the United States MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) in appearance. It is designed for tactical use and employs a road-mobile launcher, which enhances its mobility and deployment capabilities.
The missile has been test-fired several times since its first launch in 2019, with varying ranges and apogees. For instance, in one of its test firings on January 17, 2022, from Sunan Airport in Pyongyang, the missiles flew 380 km and reached an apogee of 42 km.
The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has visited the production line of ballistic missiles.
In terms of dimensions, the missile measures approximately 4.57 to 5.55 meters in length and 0.7 to 0.85 meters in diameter. It has demonstrated a range of up to 410 kilometers and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 5, equivalent to 1.5 – 1.8 km/s. The missile is equipped with a unitary warhead, and it is estimated to have a payload capacity of 400 – 500 kg.
One of the key features of the KN-24 is its ability to maneuver in flight, allowing it to fly on non-parabolic trajectories. This capability makes the missile more challenging to intercept as it complicates the prediction of its flight path for missile defense systems. In addition, the missile has shown enhanced accuracy in its test firings, including the capability to strike a target as small as a 100-meter-wide island.
The KN-24’s development and various test firings are indicative of North Korea’s ongoing efforts to advance its missile technology and improve its defense capabilities. Its design and features suggest that it can be effectively used for precision strikes. Moreover, North Korea’s involvement in supplying ballistic missiles like the KN-24 to other countries, such as Russia for use in the conflict in Ukraine, underscores the broader implications of its missile development program in terms of regional and global security dynamics.
Additionally, it’s important to note that North Korea has been involved in supplying ballistic missiles, including types like the KN-24, to other countries. For example, there have been reports of North Korea supplying ballistic missiles to Russia, which have been used in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. However, the exact extent and details of these weapon transfers are not fully clear.
The mobile version of the KN-24 ballistic missile can be also mounted on a military truck chassis carrying two missiles ready to launch.
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