[VOA 뉴스] Captured ‘ground maintenance’ ICBM launch site… Restricted ‘launch site’

Traces of repairs have been seen to the road at Pyongyang’s Sunan Airport, where North Korea recently launched an intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM. The possibility that missile launches could have damaged the ground was raised, leading to analysis that the area from which ICBMs can be fired using a mobile launch vehicle with considerable weight will be so limited. Reporter Ham Ji-ha reports. (Video editing: Jo Myung-soo)

This is a satellite photo from Planet Labs on the 1st of last month, taken at the point where North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM.

You can see a white area of ​​about 30m in width and length, or 900㎡, in the middle of the civilian and military runways of Pyongyang Sunan Airport.

VOA previously identified this place as the launch site by comparing ICBM launch photos released by North Korean state media to the surrounding topography and road shape captured in past satellite photos.

A hitherto unidentified white object appeared on the 20th, two days after launch, and began to cover the remains of the earth scorched by engine flames, then settled in a more prominent form on the 30th and 1st from last month.

Recently, North Korea launched an ICBM from about 500 meters away from this point on the 3rd of last month, about 15 days before the launch, and at this time, the same white object was identified at the site.

Military expert Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the Rand Institute, said that North Korea would have repaired the road, and estimated that there was more than just painting it white.

Bruce Bennett / Senior Researcher, Rand Institute
“The paint is applied when North Korea already knows that the US has obtained pictures of the burn marks. So it shows that the concrete surface is damaged. It had to be renovated (not painted).”

Senior researcher Bennett continued, saying that the launch vehicle carrying the ICBM was “very heavy and could damage the road surface,” and analyzed that North Korea had decided to launch it on the most difficult terrain available, and that location was the taxiway at Sunan Airport.

At the same time, he noted that the activity captured this time suggests that North Korea’s ICBM is not perfectly ‘mobile’, and that North Korea will have no other option than a taxiway or the runway of Sunan Airport with the hardest concrete floor .

In fact, North Korea has been using Sunan Airport as a launch site when launching several ICBMs in February, March, May and November.

On the other hand, military expert Professor Bruce Bechtol of Angelo State University said that the TEL mobile launch vehicle could be fired from anywhere, be it an airport or a regular road, as long as it is in an area flat as an airport. analyze it can.

This is VOA News Hamjiha.

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