Showing posts with label North Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label North Korea. Show all posts

Friday, 19 November 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Much has been written and discussed about the quality of Chinese-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While some argue that Chinese drones have proven cost-effective alternatives to American UAVs, others have pointed out the drones' high crash rates and reliability issues when compared to their Israeli, U.S. and Turkish counterparts. Despite these issues, Chinese UAVs remain highly popular on the market today. This is likely not the least due to the fact that there are few strings attached to Chinese arms sales, enabling countries like the United Arab Emirates to deploy its Chinese-made UCAVs over areas where it wouldn't be allowed to operate its U.S.-produced drones.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

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By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

North Korea's State Railway regularly flaunts its modernisation efforts by the unveiling of modernised rolling stock and revitalised train lines. In reality, billions (of dollars) will be needed to fix North Korea's crumbling rail system after decades of underinvestment and neglect. Today, most lines have speed limits that force trains to drive at just 30km/h on battered stretches of tracks and frequent power outrages bring services to a grinding halt. The situation is little better when it comes to the state of the DPRK's rolling stock, with dilapidated trains from the 1960s having become the norm rather than the exception. Perhaps most stunning is the fact that even in the 21st century, a number of 1930s-era Japanese railcars still see regular passenger service in North Korea.

The Keha class railcars are a group of diesel-powered railcars that were produced for the Chosen Government Railway (Sentetsu) from 1930 to 1942. After Japan's rule over Korea came to an end in 1945, the railcars were inherited by the Korean State Railway in North Korea and by the Korean National Railroad (nowadays known as Korea Railroad Corporation; KORAIL) in South Korea. In South Korea the Keha railcars were retired between 1957 and 1963 and subsequently scrapped. [1] Due to North Korea's reluctance to retire anything before it is properly irreparable, the North Korean railcars ironically were only at the beginning of their service lives at the time the examples in South Korea were scrapped.

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
 
On the 6th of May 2021, protests erupted in Jerusalem over a decision to evict Palestinian residents in favour of Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem that under international law is a part of Palestine. Israeli authorities violently cracked down on the protests, injuring scores of Palestinians and bringing both camps closer to the brink of armed confrontation. As protests continued with many more wounded, Hamas issued an ultimatum under which Israel was required to pull back its forces from Jerusalem's religiously sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque by the 10th of May. Following Israel's failure to adhere to the ultimatum, Hamas then commenced rocket fire at Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip, which has been the scene of many comparable clashes in the past decades.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer 
 
When the Cold War ended, and the Iron Curtain was lifted, an era commenced of which the unprecedented spread of information is perhaps its most defining characteristic. The proliferation of media (primarily through the advent of the global internet), increased transparency of nations across the world, and what amounts to the commercialisation of the arms trade have all caused a wealth of knowledge to become accessible even to those with limited resources. This has caused the area of open-source intelligence (OSINT) to bloom like never before, with a vast variety of high quality works on pretty much every imaginable topic suddenly becoming available.

Monday, 2 November 2020

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
 
Over time, stories detailing North Korea's arms exports to countries in the Middle East have become more and more common. Though any military link to the DPRK is hardly something nations have been likely to boast about, the actors in these stories are familiar and, in a certain sense, unsurprising. Egypt and Yemen were willing customers in the past, but Iran and Syria (and the non-state actors they support) maintain quite well documented links to the present day. Exposing the extent of these links is by no means trivial and definitely an interesting subject of its own; today however we shed light on a subject that is much less familiar.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer
 
The DPRK. Shrouded in mysticism and secrecy, the nation represents an absolute unicum for the military analyst. No other country in the world manages to attract so much scrutiny to its controversial antics, yet divulge so little of material importance about its inner workings. This might be at the heart of why this country specifically has gripped our attention for so many years, and drawn us to write this book about its largely mysterious armed forces. The subject is broad and an aversion towards narrowing down the scope of this project means it has run into numerous delays along the way whilst the word count steadily kept rising. Unpleasant as this may have been in the meantime, this has enabled us to write a more complete treatise of both the Korean People Army's history and its current military convolutions than we could once have hoped for. The common thread found within these pages on all matters related to the North Korean military is proudly extolled on the cover: "On the Path of Songun" it is a subtitle fitting to the subject whichever way you regard it. To the North Koreans, "Songun" is the military first doctrine introduced by Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il; a supposed masterplan aimed at preserving the nation's sovereignty. Incidently, "On the Path of Songun" is also the title of one of the DPRK's many military documentaries – a highly welcome source of information for analysts like us. Viewed from another angle however, the phrase embodies the confrontational direction that has come to characterise North Korean politics in recent decades. Plastered across headlines through ever escalating tensions and an inexhaustable string of missile launches and atomic bomb tests, the question this book aims to answer about North Korea's armed forces is implicit to this subtitle: Where did the path of Songun lead them, and where will it next?

Thursday, 14 May 2020

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Novel information featured in one of our articles for NK News detail the procurement of at least six anti-submarine helicopters from Cuba, once again showing North Korea ensures its armed forces remain well equipped in an era of sanctions and economic hardship.

In aid of Juche: how Cuban anti-submarine helicopters ended up in North Korea

The DPRK attempted to rectify its rudimentary ASW capabilities by dealing with Havana in the early 2000s.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Exclusive new images featured in one of our articles for NK News Pro have revealed the construction of four 77 metres long corvettes is in an advanced stage, once again showing rearmament of the ill-equipped Korean People's Navy is continuing at an unexpected pace.

Although unfortunately, our full analysis is behind a paywall, an NK News article featuring various experts in the field of North Korean weapon proliferation on the new corvettes is available for free. Alternatively, you could wait for the full analysis in our upcoming books: The Armed Forces of North Korea: on the path of Songun.

Friday, 11 March 2016

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Subject to severe sanctions for almost a decade, the proliferation of North Korean conventional armament on the international arms market is an often underreported topic, and many arms deals of the past are completely undocumented. Nonetheless, the traces of these deals still mark many of the world's conflict areas, and every once in a while new footage confirms North Korea's involvement in the international arms trade.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer 


After the sighting of North Korean Type-73 light machine guns (LMGs) in Iraq, it now appears several examples of this rare firearm have made their way to Syria with the deployment of the Iraqi Shiite militia Kata'ib al-Imam Ali to this country. Kata'ib al-Imam Ali's involvement in Syria has been centered around the regime's offensive in Northern Aleppo in February 2016, aimed at cutting off rebel forces North and North-East of Aleppo. 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer


Iraq's war on the Islamic State has seen a myriad of both light and heavy weaponry from all sources around the world in use with the numerous groups pitting it out against the Islamic State in Iraq. From Iranian tanks and multiple rocket launchers to World War II-era howitzers, the war in Iraq has so far provided it all.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Even though a lot of categories of equipment of the Korean People's Army are known quite well due to satellite imagery and propaganda videos, the rare aspect of the Korean People's Navy (KPN) is often overlooked. Considering the scarcity of footage and high-quality satellite footage of KPN naval ships, this is hardly surprising. However, as is illustrated by the sheer amount of ships being produced over the years, the Korean People's Navy still does play an important role in the current day North Korean military.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Several new developments in North Korean armaments can be witnessed amongst the recent flow of propaganda released by Pyongyang after Kim Jong Un's ascension to power. One such development is what appears to be a new magazine model for the North Korean copy of the AK-74, the Type 88. This new magazine uses a staggered helix design, which allows for a high number of 5.45 x 39 mm cartridges to be carried without the notable increases in size and unwieldiness that characterise many other high capacity magazines.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

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By Joost Oliemans and Stijn Mitzer

Click on the equipment to get a picture of them in North Korean service.

Notes:

- If several configurations of a vehicle with one designation are known, they are added as such.

- The part within apostrophes refers to an unoffical name, such as the US DoD M-xxxx designation system (referring to the first year the system was identified).

- A year in square brackers after the designation of a vehicle refer to its perceived date of inception.

- All vehicles listed are presumed to still be in use with the Korean People's Army.

- All vehicles listed are presumed to still be in use with the Korean People's Army unless indicated.

- Last updated on 14-03-2017.