TechNorth Korean missiles in Ukraine expose Kim Jong-un's 'blind spot' to the West

North Korean missiles in Ukraine expose Kim Jong-un's 'blind spot' to the West

Kim Jong Un conducts an inspection of the Russian Su-57 airplane.
Kim Jong Un conducts an inspection of the Russian Su-57 airplane.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | Clash Report

5:19 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Fabian Hinz, a researcher from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, notes that for several decades, the weapons used by Kim Jong-un's regime and the North Korean missile program have been a "blind spot" for Western countries. However, the recent use of North Korean missiles against Ukrainians has provided an opportunity for detailed examination and understanding.

The Russians' use of North Korean missiles allows us to estimate their flight trajectory, range, and accuracy. Moreover, it enables us to test the effectiveness of Western air defense systems against these missiles. Kyiv has been employing Patriot systems, IRIS-T, and NASAMS.

Further details can be gathered by studying the remnants of shot-down missiles. Upon examination, experts may identify the guidance systems and origins of the various components. Such investigations often yield surprising results. For instance, a study of Russian missiles revealed that components produced in Switzerland were incorporated into them.

"The ability to closely study these missiles will prove extremely valuable. This will help us determine how many foreign parts Pyongyang relies on for its missiles," explains Fabian Hinz.

North Korean weapons in Ukraine

The Ukrainians, the British intelligence service, and others have confirmed that for over a month and a half, North Korea has been supplying Russia with 122 and 152 mm caliber missiles and rockets for the multi-launcher Grad rocket systems. In early January, the Americans reported that North Korean ballistic missiles with a range of up to 560 miles had begun arriving in Russia.

This assistance was valuable to the Russians as 122- and 152-mm caliber missiles were the most commonly used in their artillery systems. However, there are indications that the quality of North Korean weaponry may be far from satisfactory. The Russians have even started voicing complaints about the artillery shells arriving from North Korea.

"Absolute garbage. If the missile hits its target and explodes, the artillerymen celebrate. Everyone dances and sings songs praising Chairman Kim. If the missile misses and falls on the heads of our infantry - it's thanks to the underfed boys from North Korea who assembled it for a bowl of rice," one of the so-called war bloggers remarked, as quoted by Moscow Times.

Related content