November 23, 2020 13:28
North Korea appears to be expanding a factory that will produce tracked combat vehicles like tanks and mobile missile launchers at an industrial site in Kusong, North Pyongan Province.
The Kusong plant already produces the Pukguksong-2's tracked transporter erector launcher. Once the expansion is complete, it is expected to mass-produce tracked vehicles for Iskander missiles, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles and multiple rocket launchers that are still under development.
U.S. blog Arms Control Wonk said on Nov. 20, "Recent satellite images of the Kusong tank plant... reveal new construction activities, including the addition of a large new factory hall that, when complete, will be the largest structure at the site."
"The first signs of this activity were captured in images between Aug. 6 and 30, with the visible addition of the large factory building's outer walls being more apparent in recent imagery from Nov. 13," it added.
A military spokesman here said. "It could be a factory that will produce new tracked vehicles."
The new construction follows the unveiling of new weapons during a military parade marking the 75th founding anniversary of the Workers Party in October.
There the regime unveiled the Iskander and ATACMS missiles and a new multiple rocket launcher. These weapons were mounted on tracked rather than wheeled vehicles so they can move in rough terrain, which could allow them to be more effectively hidden from prying eyes.
"The expansion of the Kusong plant suggests that the regime could increase its production capacity of tracked mobile launchers of short-range missiles and super-large rocket launchers," said Shin Jong-woo at the Korea Defense and Security Forum. "It seems that it will deploy a lot of new tracked weapons warfare-ready soon."
Experts speculate that the North will soon be capable of mass-producing new tanks and self-propelled howitzers. The North also showcased a new tank during the anniversary parade.
Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, told reporters recently, "We saw some new-looking vehicles, but because we couldn't go up closely and inspect them, you actually don't know if those are real, or maybe they've been visually modified to look differently."
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