These New Rocket Launchers By North Korea Appear As Civilian Trucks

North Korea has showcased a new dimension of camouflage in its recent military parade, marking the 75th Anniversary of its founding. The Worker-Peasant Red Guards paramilitary force unveiled a fleet of civilian trucks ingeniously disguised as rocket launchers. This strategy challenges traditional notions of concealment and highlights the evolving nature of modern warfare.

During the military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung Square, North Korea’s Worker-Peasant Red Guards presented a fleet of civilian trucks seemingly innocuous but hiding a lethal secret. These trucks concealed multiple rocket launchers, complete with 12 tubes of what appeared to be 122mm artillery rockets, deployed via pop-up and slide-door roofs. Even the dump truck crews donned yellow hardhats, further blurring the lines between civilian and military assets.

This parade underscores a resurgence of age-old deception tactics aimed at concealing military equipment on the battlefield. The U.S. recognizes the importance of such tactics in the Pacific theater. Notably, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has revealed the evolving nature of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) assets. ISTAR capabilities have become more accessible through the proliferation of affordable unmanned systems, including kamikaze drones and drone-dropped bomblets. This shift in warfare dynamics places greater pressure on keeping equipment hidden and confusing enemy identification.

North Korea faces increased surveillance capabilities from the U.S. and South Korea, monitoring activity across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The goal is to exploit the difficulty of distinguishing between civilian and military vehicles that look identical. This strategy aims to expand targeting options during a conflict, complicating an already extensive target list in the region.

To counter these challenges, some nations have resorted to hiding military assets in plain sight. For instance, Taiwan conceals armored vehicles as construction equipment during exercises. Additionally, the U.S., Israel, and Russia have developed missile launchers disguised as shipping containers capable of blending into industrial areas or cargo decks for covert attacks.

North Korea’s adoption of deceptive concealment methods goes beyond its paramilitary force’s rocket launchers. It raises the possibility of similar tactics for long-range weapons like nuclear-armed cruise missiles. As modern warfare becomes increasingly surveilled, concealment and guile are emerging as crucial elements for success on the battlefield.

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