May 19, 2024

N.Korea’s ‘conservative’ display contrasts with past WPK celebrations

Massive WPK 70th anniversary parade shows KN-06 SAM, KN-08 IRBM and 300mm MRL in apparent working condition

North Korea’s latest display of military might, in the form of a parade commemorating the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea 70 years ago, once again featured the lavish marches, hordes of armored fighting vehicles and aerial performances the international public has come to expect from the reclusive nation. Nonetheless, it was surprisingly conservative in terms of the display of radical new systems, such as the ones that stunned military analysts during the 2012 and 2013 parades. Instead, it focused on showcasing military equipment already known to be in the KPA’s (Korean People’s Army) inventory, apparently to affirm their operational capacity.

This certainly seemed to be the case with the North’s gigantic KN-08 ballistic missiles (known in North Korea as the Hwasong-13), four of which could be seen during Saturday’s parade in a new army-green military camouflage different from the 2012 parade. Most notably however, the missiles which were uncovered to be non-operational mock-ups after subtle differences were noticed between different examples in previous parades, were radically modified and redesigned with an entirely new nosecone. This nosecone is very much reminiscent of the one seen on the Soviet R-29R submarine-launched ballistic missile (even donning the same thrusters that allow the missile to change course in mid-flight), making it a likely source for the technology upon which the KN-08 is based.

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