Procurement: North Korean Rockets Going Out The Back Door


April 6,2008: Singapore is trying to prove, or disprove, reports that North Korea is exporting 240mm unguided rockets (with a range of 45 kilometers) to Myanmar, and using a Singapore based trading company to arrange transportation. This sale was a result the two nations resuming diplomatic relations last year. Myanmar had cut off ties with North Korea in 1983 when North Korea agents tried to kill the visiting South Korean president. This attack killed 17 South Koreans and four locals. Myanmar, like North Korea, is a police state, and has a hard time buying weapons on the international market. However, North Korea manufactures a wide range of weapons, from small arms to artillery, unguided rockets and ballistic missiles. The rest of the world tends to discourage these exports as much as possible.

The 240mm rockets weigh 900 pounds and are 16 feet long. The truck mounted launchers come in 12 or 22 cell versions. The rockets and launchers were sold to Iran in the 1980s, and Iran now produces the weapon under license, and offers them for sale as the Fajr 3. Myanmar would use the weapon to launch surprise attacks on tribal rebels in the mountain jungles in the north. That's because the rockets can cover a large area with simultaneous explosions, preventing those in the target area from taking cover.


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