Key Point: Can Kim kill stealth?
If the Trump Administration chooses to intervene in North Korea someday, the White House may discover that Pyongyang is a more formidable adversary than many might expect.
Aside from the reclusive regime’s nuclear weapons, Kim Jong-un’s hermit kingdom boasts air defenses that are more advanced than many might realize. Moreover, Pyongyang has also taken steps to increase its resilience against any aerial onslaught that that United States might launch in the event of war. The so-called Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has not forgotten the lessons of the Korean War–which technically has not yet ended.
“Between 1950 and 1953, the U.S. Air Force and Navy flattened North Korea, so the NORKS have had 65 years to think about how to make sure that does not happen again and dig lots of bomb proof shelters and tunnels,” retired Rear Adm. Mike McDevitt, a senior fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses, told The National Interest.
But aside from hardening its facilities, Pyongyang fields more advanced air defenses than one might assume. While the overwhelming majority of North Korean air defenses are older Soviet systems, Pyongyang does field some surprisingly capable indigenous weapons.