Running Local

This Train of Thought Makes All Stops

North Korean Deploys Additional Firepower to Disputed Zone

Posted by Bob Kohm on December 19, 2010

Chosun Ilbo is reporting tonight that the North Koreans have moved 240mm and 120mm Multiple Launch Rocket units to the West Coast just north of Yeonpyeong Island, have opened the camouflaged doors of several coastal artillery HARTs and have moved up SAMs and MiG-23 interceptors to forward bases in addition to moving Silkworm anti-ship missiles to firing positions on the coast.+

The possible good news is that these moves, which the North knows are visible to satellite reconnaissance, are all directed towards Yeonpyeong Island and not Seoul or other RoK targets. This may signal that the North is planning to limit its retaliatory action to destroying Yeonpyeong. That may seem an odd signal– hey, we’re going to blow the shit out of a hunk of your territory but only that one piece– but it may well be intended to forestall a more intense escalation ladder. Whether or not that will matter to the RoK is an open question tonight.

The same outlet is now reporting that the South Koreans have deployed six US made M270 MLRS units to Yeonpyeong along with another battery of K-9 howitzers to return fire if it comes. The M270 is the MLRS that you may be familiar with from the Gulf War– the tracjed vehicle with the boxy launcher on back that swivels. I’m trying to find out if we’ve sold the South any of the more advanced guided rockets, if they have the sub-munition variants (think “cluster bombs”) or if they have the single HE warhead unguided rockets.

UPDATE: The South does indeed possess ATACAMS guided missiles for the M270s with a range of over 100 miles and a variety of warheads.

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