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North Korea Eyes Russian Weapons: Kim Jong Un’s Visit Raises Alarms

Russian Fighter Jets and Strategic Weapons
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un
The Capability of Multidimensional Simultaneous Attacks

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There has been news of cargo movements in the North Korea-Russia border area following the detection of a large ship entering and leaving the North Korean Najin port for the first time in a month.

The cargo in motion was covered with a blue tarp, which shocked everyone because it took up about one-third of the open-air storage yard between two buildings.

As the pile of cargo is likely heading to Russia, there is growing interest in whether it includes North Korean weapons, including ballistic missiles. This has again drawn attention to the shape of Kim Jong Un, who visited Russia last September.

In September of last year, North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un visited Russia and was known to have toured the Yuri Gagarin Fighter Jet Factory, the Knevichi Military Airfield, and the base of the Russian Pacific Fleet.

The event attendees were Ri Pyong Chol, Secretary of the Workers’ Party; Pak Jong Chon, Military and Political Director of the Party; Kang Sun Nam, Minister of National Defense; Kim Kwang Hyok, Air Force Commander; and Kim Myong Sik, Navy Commander. On the Russian side, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu welcomed Kim Jong Un.

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They visited the Yuri Gagarin Fighter Jet Factory and inspected various strategic bombers and multi-purpose fighters, raising suspicions of a renewed threat from North Korea on the Korean Peninsula. The fighter jets Kim Jong Un saw at the Knevichi Military Airfield are the Su-57 and Su-35.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation fighter jet produced by Sukhoi for the Russian Aerospace Forces. The Sukhoi fighter jet started when the Soviet Union learned that the United States was developing a next-generation fighter jet to replace the F-15 and F-16 during the Soviet era.

The Soviet Union began a project to develop a next-generation fighter jet in the 90s, which fizzled out after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the project was resumed as the economy grew.

The Su-57 is the first operational stealth fighter jet of the Russian Armed Forces, and it is said to have been developed using all of Russia’s aviation technology. The Su-57 is capable of ground and naval strikes and air combat. It has excellent maneuverability, supersonic cruising, integrated avionics, and significant internal payload capabilities.

The Su-35 is a multi-purpose fighter jet developed by Russian Sukhoi for air superiority and bombers. The term bomber refers to a combat bomber, a fighter jet that can perform both attack and bombing missions simultaneously. North Korea is said to have requested the purchase of the Su-35 during a visit to Moscow in 2014.

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In addition, Kim Jong Un visited the Pacific Fleet base in Vladivostok, Russia. He is reported to have seen the anti-submarine warfare escorts of the Russian Pacific Fleet called Marshal Shaposhnikov. An anti-submarine warfare escort refers to a warship that guards and patrols against enemies at sea, escorting aircraft carriers and the like.

Russia completed the modernization of Marshal Shaposhnikov several years ago. The anti-submarine warfare escort was equipped with long-range Kalibr cruise missiles, which were used in special military operations in Ukraine.

Kim Jong Un seemed very interested in Russia’s missiles. He is reported to have examined the KH-35 Uran and Kalibr cruise missiles.

The missile known as the KH-35 was developed by the Soviet Union in 1983 as a subsonic cruise missile for anti-ship use. It is called Uran in Russia. The KH-35 is made of aluminum alloy and has X-shaped rear control wings structurally attached.

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The warhead is a high-explosive penetrating fragmentation warhead that explodes on contact fuse. The Uran is known to be guided by an inertial guidance system to the target’s pre-stage, then attacks the enemy in the desired direction by setting waypoints. This missile became the foundation of North Korea’s latest anti-ship missile, the Geumsong 3.

The Kalibr cruise missile is a missile made by Russia to attack surface vessels. It has been known that the Russian Black Sea Fleet mainly used it and was the missile used in the attack on Ukraine the most.

It is reported that Kim Jong Un also visited the Knevichi military airfield and inspected Russia’s strategic weapons, including the hypersonic missile Kinzhal. He is reported to have seen the KH-47, MiG-31, Tupolev (Tu)-160, Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3, etc.

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The Kinzhal is a hypersonic missile mounted on the MiG-31 fighter. As Russia’s most advanced weapon, it is known to accelerate to more than ten times the speed of sound after being launched from a fighter.

North Korea was also planning to mount a hypersonic missile on a fighter, so he showed more interest. The Kinzhal is a missile mounted on the Russian Iskander on a fighter jet.

The Tupolev (Tu)-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3 are the main components of Russia’s aerial nuclear power in the field of long-range strategic bombers.

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These strategic bombers are models designed by the Soviet Tupolev company. The Tu-160, in particular, is famous as the last strategic bomber designed during the Soviet era. It boasts a top speed of Mach 2.05, making it the fastest among the remaining large strategic bombers.

The Tu-95MS is an entirely different cruise missile launch platform equipped with the Kh-55, which Kim Jong Un had given an eye on. The Tu-22M3 is also known as a strategic bomber equipped with missiles.

It is no coincidence that North Korea, which is currently devoted to weapons development, visited Russia. North Korea’s intention to acquire or develop weapons through Russia is apparent. Experts say there is little chance of acquiring weapons. Most of the guns Kim Jong Un saw were not made for sale.

The reason is that Russia cannot produce additional strategic bombers, and there is no precedent for selling strategic bombers overseas. The same goes for the Su-35 and Su-57.

However, there are exceptions. Experts argue that if Russia reaches a disadvantageous situation in the war with Ukraine and is defeated, it could offer weapons in support of North Korea. If this situation is reached, North Korea could become capable of multidimensional simultaneous attacks, which could pose a significant problem on the Korean Peninsula.

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