By Bijan Razzaghi
Tensions with North Korea have been high for some time and if fighting breaks out there is a high chance ground combat will take place along the DMZ. Most allied forces along the DMZ operate tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. North Korea’s military has a wide array of weapon systems that pose a threat to allied ground vehicles. The most threatening of these are the Kornet E, Mi-24 Hind and Su-25 Frogfoot.
It has been reported that North Korea has successfully reverse engineered the Kornet E and designated it the Bulsae-3. The Kornet is particularly dangerous because of its mobility as an infantry weapon. Small groups of infantry can employ Kornets with ambush style hit and run tactics, and avoid detection from ISR. Kornets also use SACLOS laser guidance and if aimed correctly can be targeted against the weaker parts of tanks. Kornets were used in both Iraq and Lebanon against M-1A2 Abrams and Merkava Mk3 tanks.
The primary countermeasure against the Kornet is Reythons Quick Kill which can detonate incoming missile detected on radar. Most front line US army M-1 Abrams, M-2 Bradley’s and Stryker’s have been equipped with the system. Even with countermeasures large numbers of less sophisticated RPG 7s can be used to overwhelm the system. This tactic has been used in the past and has made the Kornet a deadly infantry weapon. It is unknown how many Kornets North Korea’s army is in posetion of but it is likely used by Special Forces units and heavy units along side the older AT-3 Sagger.
The Mi-24 is the primary attack helicopter operated by North Korea’s Army. Delivered by the Soviet’s in the 1980s the North Koreans operate the Mi-24D varient. The Hind was designed specifically for anti tank missions and air support. Mi-24s can carry un to four AT-2 or AT-5 anti tank missiles along with unguided rockets. The Hind also uses a 12.7 mm cannon. The Hinds rockets can overwhelm modern active protection systems. It will be a priority for allied forces to achieve air superiority in the early stages of any conflict that breaks out and most aircraft operated by North Korea’s military being fixed wing or rotary wing will likely be destroyed. Despite this the Mi-24D is very mobile and can be camouflaged and deployed near the frontlines giving allies a short amount of time to engage and destroy them before they can threaten allied ground troops.
The Su-25 is North Korea’s primary attack aircraft designed for close air support and tank hunting. The aircraft can be deployed form short runways and highways while being hidden in tunnel networks along the DMZ. The Su-25 uses the Kh-25 laser guided missile along with S-13, 24 and 25 unguided rockets. The aircraft also has a Gsh-30-2 30mm cannon. The Su-25 like the Mi-24D Hind would likely be targeted in in the early stages of operations but the close proximity to the DMZ makes them a threat to allied tanks. North Korea is believed to have 34 Su-25s.