September 23, 2023

Why North Korea’s air force struggles to keep up, despite numerical advantages

DPRK’s Soviet-era fleet in desperate need of modernization, but experts say costs involved may be too big to overcome

North Korea has asserted that it recently mobilized “500 fighters of different kinds” in opposition to U.S.-ROK air drills, a dramatic show of force that has drawn attention to the DPRK’s air force capabilities.

But while the number of warplanes that Pyongyang claims took part may be striking, experts say that the Korean People’s Army (KPA) air and anti-air force is in truth a paper tiger, with an aging fleet that can’t hope to match up to modern rivals regardless of any numerical advantages.