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North Korea releases images of 2 March weapon test

Images released by North Korea’s state-run media show that the weapon system the country tested on 2 March appears to have been the same ‘super-large multiple rocket launcher [MRL]’ it had tested on 28 November, 31 October, 10 September, and 24 August 2019.

Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on 3 March that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had the previous day inspected y a “strike drill” of the Korean People’s Army’s (KPA’s) “long-range artillery sub-units”, which “demonstrated accurate marksmanship”.

Images released by the KCNA on 3 March show that Pyongyang tested-fired what appeared to be its ‘super-large MRL’ system the previous day as part of a firing drill of KPA long-range artillery sub-units.

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.

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 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.

The KCNA report came a day after South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said North Korea had fired two unidentified short-range projectiles in a north-easterly direction at about 12.37 h local time from an area near the eastern coastal city of Wonsan in North Korea’s Kangwon Province.

The images released by KCNA on 3 March show that the tactical weapon system tested by North Korea on 2 March appears to be identical to the ‘super-large MRL’ system tested on 28 November, 31 October, 10 September, and 24 August 2019.The North Korean military began carrying out on 28 February what it described as “joint strike drills” that were inspected by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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