N.Korea Tests New 300-mm Multiple Rocket Launchers

Military authorities here tentatively concluded that short-range projectiles North Korea fired into the East Sea on Feb. 21 were not missiles but 300-mm multiple rocket launchers.

If fired from near the demilitarized zone, the rockets with an estimated range of 180 km, could reach the headquarters of the South Korean Army, Navy and Air Force.

A government source on Sunday said the rockets flew about 150 km.

The Chinese WS-1B multiple rocket launcher (file photo) The Chinese WS-1B multiple rocket launcher (file photo)

Military authorities here believe the North will deploy the new MRLs warfare-ready soon. They are reportedly similar to the WS-1B, which China remodeled based on a Russian rocket.

The WS-1B has a range of 180 km and a maximum speed of Mach 5.2. It is 6.37 m long and can carry warheads up to 150 kg.

Military authorities say MRLs are a bigger threat than short-range missiles despite their poor accuracy, because hundreds of rockets can be fired in short succession.

The military has some means of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles but as yet no defense against MRL rockets, nor any plan in place to procure them.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 03, 2014 12:17 KST