Worries as N.Korea Launches Missiles 'from Train'

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    September 17, 2021 11:19

    North Korea ostensibly fired two ballistic missiles from a train into the East Sea on Wednesday.

    North Korea has created a railway missile unit that could take advantage of weaknesses in South Korean and U.S. missile detection and intercept systems by moving rapidly around and in and out of tunnels.

    A missile is being fired from a train in an undisclosed location in North Korea on Wednesday, in this photo released by the official [North] Korean Central News Agency the following day.

    "The railway-borne missile regiment took part in the drill with a mission to strike the target area 800 kilometers away from its location after moving to the central mountainous area at dawn" on Sept. 15, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said Thursday.

    The drill aimed to "increase the capability of dealing an intensive multi-concurrent blow at the forces posing threats to us at a time of conducting necessary military operations," it added.

    The regiment was only set up this year, and this is the first time the reclusive state officially revealed its existence. It also published a picture of a North Korean version of Russia's Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile being fired from or from behind a train at the mouth of a tunnel, creating a huge ball of flames. 

    North Korea already uses mobile wheeled or tracked launchers, which could be hampered by the poor condition of the North's roads. But the story changes if the North uses its railway network because trains can be hidden inside tunnels and mobilized quickly to fire their deadly payloads.

    Camouflaging a missile-laden train to look like a passenger locomotive could make it extremely difficult for U.S. and South Korea to detect it. Experts said the allies may have to overhaul their detection and intercept systems. 

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