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Weapons

Images show North Korea fired ‘super large MRL’ again on 9 March

10 March 2020
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Images released by the KCNA on 10 March show that Pyongyang fired what appeared to be its ‘super-large MRL’ system the previous day as part of another firing drill of KPA long-range artillery sub-units. Source: KCNA

Images released by North Korea's state-run media show that one of the weapon systems the country fired on 9 March appears to have been the same 'super-large multiple rocket launcher [MRL]' it had launched a week earlier as well as on 28 November, 31 October, 10 September, and 24 August 2019.

Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on 10 March that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had supervised the previous day another "strike drill" of the Korean People's Army's (KPA's) "long-range artillery sub-units" that was aimed at "inspecting the sudden military counterattack capability" and combat readiness of these units.

Kim was also quoted as saying that the KPA should further strengthen and improve artillery training and "conduct drills under the simulated conditions of an actual war".

Although no further details were provided about the weapons involved in the firing exercise, images released by the media outlet show that several long-range artillery systems were used, including what appeared to be the 'super-large MRL', which is designated 'KN-25' by US Forces Korea.

Images were also shown of an islet - presumably off the eastern coast of North Korea in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) - being struck by artillery fire, with the KCNA stating that "the artillerymen on the front hit the target with excellent marksmanship".

North Korea's 'super-large' MRL system comprises an 8×8 launcher vehicle fitted with four launch tubes. The calibre of the projectiles used by this tactical system appears to be larger than 370 mm, with some South Korean media reports claiming that it is believed to be 600 mm. These weapons, which both South Korea and Japan refer to as short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), have what appear to be small control surfaces on their noses: a feature seen on guided artillery rockets used in North Korea and other countries.

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