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North Korea showcases disguised rocket launcher units at paramilitary parade

People watching a South Korean news broadcast in Seoul showing a parade to mark North Korea's 75th founding anniversary on 9 September 2023. Spotted at the parade were what appears to be the M1985 multiple launch rocket system that has been incorporated into red tipper trucks with false load coverings. (Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea has displayed what appears to be a fleet of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) units that have been disguised as civilian vehicles.

These units were showcased during a paramilitary parade that was held on 9 September at Kim Il Sung Square to mark the country's 75th founding anniversary.

Leading the segment of MLRS systems at the parade were at least nine tractor-towed 18-round 122 mm MLRS units. The system towed is similar to the ones showcased by North Korea at the parade to mark its 65th anniversary.

However, the tractors on display on 9 September were of a newer variant that has likely been manufactured by the Kumsong Tractor Factory.

The North Korean state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published images of its leader Kim Jong Un visiting this factory in August 2023 as part of efforts to highlight the country's domestic manufacturing capabilities.

Following these tractors at the parade was a fleet of six trucks mounted with 20 ft containers that have been disguised as nondescript shipping receptacles emblazoned with the name of a generic Korean business name.

These containers feature retractable roof slots for MLRS tubes that resemble the Korean People's Army's M1985 12-round 240 mm MLRS. Paramilitary personnel dressed as civilians were seen seated within these containers, and they were armed with sub-machine guns.

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