North Korea said Thursday it successfully launched ballistic missiles from a train for the first time and continues to upgrade its defences. A video and a press release were released by a state-owned media outlet that presented a history of the technology’s development and intended usage.
According to the release, “the Eighth Congress, which was earlier in January this year, organised the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment and tasked it to deliver the ability to more actively cope with all sorts of threats.” According to a news statement, the drill was held in a secret location in the country’s central mountainous region to test the system’s viability, assess the new regiment’s combat readiness, and assess its capacity to accomplish firepower tasks.
The projectile reached its destination over 500 miles (800 kilometres) off the eastern coast. According to reports, Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Politburo’s Presidium, defined the system as an “effective counter-striking means to deal a heavy blow to threatening forces multiple concurrently with dispersive firing across the country.” Furthermore, he characterised the system as being under the country’s modernisation policy.
Considering North Korea’s massive rail network, it is strategic to deploy a mobile missile launch system. But it is not a North Korean innovation or a new approach. During the Cold War, both Russia and the United States tried this. Ankit Panda, a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of the book “KIM JONG UN AND THE BOMB,” shared a set of concept images of such systems on Twitter.
Panda had foreshadowed this shift in his book last year. The system can be safeguarded from enemy surveillance by hiding weapons in tunnels and running other decoy trains, thereby stretching resources. When combined with different assault modes developed by the country, it can put a strain on systems that work well over a limited target area.
Panda speculates on Twitter that intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are the next possible system to be launched. He claims that the country’s “diverse set” of technologies is a policy of “survivability through complexity,” which is not only costly but also unlikely to be used in the case of a dispute.
However, South Korea is developing its own Iron Dome to tackle these conflicts.