Military Capabilities

Images show North Korea re-tested another tactical missile system on 21 March

23 March 2020

The images released by KCNA on 22 March show that the tactical weapon system tested by North Korea on 21 March appears to be identical to the SRBM system tested on 10 and 16 August 2019. Source: KCNA

Images released by North Korea's state-run media on 22 March show that the country appears to have once again test-fired the same type of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) - similar in appearance to some of the missiles used by the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) - it had launched on 10 and 16 August 2019.

Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the previous day a "firing demonstration" of the new tactical weapon system that "clearly proved the characters of different flight trajectories and falling angles, [as well as] the accuracy [and power] of the guided shells".

Although no further details were provided about the road-mobile system, images released by the media outlet showed that two missiles were fired from a tracked transporter-erector-launcher (TEL). The projectiles superficially resemble some of the missiles used by the US ATACMS, which is also in service with the South Korean military.

The North Korean missiles, two of which can be fired from the TEL shown in the KCNA images, are also somewhat similar in appearance to the 610 mm King Dragon 300 missiles marketed by the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco).

The KCNA also showed images of an islet - presumably located off the eastern coast of North Korea in the East Sea - being struck by weaponry, to apparently demonstrate that the missiles had hit their intended target.

The move, which marked North Korea's third firing of SRBMs this year, is a further indication that Pyongyang continues to modernise its tactical missile systems. The country had tested its 'super-large multiple rocket launcher [MRL]' from its eastern regions on 2 and 9 March, after having tested the SRBM system four times in 2019.

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