While phibìc Korea’s an are and counterspace capabilities room limited, it has actually made an extensive progress occurring its missile, jamming, and also cyber capabilities. North Korea’s missile technology clearly aligns v its strive to end up being a atom power; that jamming and also cyberattack capabilities tend to be more accessible and lower-tech than part counterspace weapons.


The following post is an excerpt from Space risk Assessment 2018, a report from the audioeditorfree.com audioeditorfree.com protection Project. Download a PDF variation of this thing in the complete report here. 

North Korea is a crucial threat to the joined States and also our allies in Northeast Asia and also is our hardest knowledge collection target.LTG Robert AshleyDirector, Defense Intelligence firm 1

Overall space Capabilities

NORTH KOREA has AN ACTIVE an are PROGRAM that is carefully related come its missile program, which has made significant progress in current years. Still, numerous experts doubt that the couple of satellites launched by phibìc Korea perform all of the functions that the phibìc Korean federal government claims.2 there is tiny indication the North Korea is making comprehensive efforts to develop or sustain a an are industrial base, but its missile routine is growing and many believe that that is aided by an innovation from China, Iran, and/or Pakistan.3North Korea effectively orbited its first satellite in December 2012 after 3 failed do the efforts in July 2006, April 2009, and April 2012. The successful launch supplied the Unha-3, a launch vehicle believed to be a variant of the Taepodong-2 ICBM. In its 5th test in February 2016, it effectively placed a second satellite in orbit.4 when the an are capabilities noted by these two satellites have little if any kind of military significance, that demonstrates that the nation has the ability of placing an item into orbit. Moreover, north Korea has actually publicly proclaimed its will to continue launching remote sensing satellites and also to send an unmanned mission to the moon in ~ a decade.5
In parallel v its room program, north Korea has likewise made far-ranging progress in developing and also testing ballistic missiles. Under the Kim Jong- Un regime, it has actually ramped increase its missile test program from 6 ballistic missile launches in 2012 come 25 launches in 2017.6 that November 2017 test of the Hwasong-15 ICBM complied with a lofted trajectory to reach an apogee of 4,475 km and a selection of 950 km. If the same auto with the exact same payload were launched on a range-maximizing trajectory, it can reach virtually any kind of location in the joined States.7 based upon publicly available information, however, the is not clear whether north Korea has arisen the re-entry vehicle technology that would certainly be necessary to deploy a conventional or nuclear warhead ~ above its long-range missiles.

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Space Organization and also Doctrine

LITTLE IS KNOWN about NORTH KOREA’S doctrine or operational concepts for the usage of room and counterspace capabilities. Most of the country’s army capabilities show up to be concentrated on ensuring the survival of the regime and also deterring international aggression, and also it maintains “a stridently confrontation posture versus the joined States.”8 once the routine speaks publicly around space, that is typically in the paper definition of tranquil programs and its right to be a room power. It has actually been noted that the absence of discussion about counterspace ability that could threaten the U.S. Military is curious given the wild rhetoric provided by the regimen in touting that nuclear and missile programs.9

Image Source: North oriental Unha-3 rocket ~ above April 8, 2012. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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"Missiles of phibìc Korea"

To date North Korea has actually not tested, or suggested that it is attempting come develop, a direct-ascent or co-orbital ASAT capability. The space launch and ballistic missile modern technology demonstrated by phibìc Korea might serve together the basis because that a kinetic ASAT capability, but many technological hurdles remain. An efficient directascent or co-orbital ASAT weapon would certainly require miscellaneous onboard sensors—optical, infrared, radar, etc.—and a guidance device to steer the warhead right into a target satellite. There space no indications that North Korea has or is attempting to obtain the technology needed because that this.10Like Iran, that is conceivable the North Korea can field a crude direct-ascent ASAT capacity in the near-term by adapting a ballistic missile to launch one unguided warhead come detonate in the vicinity that a target satellite. Together a weapon would certainly be unlikely to directly strike a satellite, yet could create a debris ar that complicates future operations because that the target satellite and any other satellites in a comparable orbit.

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North Korea launches lot of ballistic missiles on in march 6, 2017. STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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There is some evidence that phibìc Korea might be developing or has already acquired non-kinetic physical counterspace weapons such together a atom EMP device.11 However, the modern technology necessary for more sophisticated directed-energy weapons, such together lasers that can dazzle or blind the sensors top top satellites, needs a level of modern technology that north Korea is unlikely to own anytime soon.12 one more country, particularly China or Russia, could provide such ability to phibìc Korea, but there is no publicly obtainable evidence to suggest this has actually occurred.

Given its currently ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities, phibìc Korea can theoretically beginning a nuclear weapon into space and detonate it.13 utilizing a atom weapon in this manner walk not need re-entry vehicle an innovation like a nuclear-armed ICBM would. Test of nuclear tools in an are were banned by the 1963 Partial Test ban Treaty, but North Korea is not a signatory to this treaty.14

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North korean Hwasong-12 missiles top top parade on February 8, 2018. KCNA VIA KNS/AFP/Getty ImagesIn a written statement to congress in 2017, the commission to assess the danger to the United says from Electromagnetic Pulse assault (the EMP Commission) offered evidence that North Korea might be developing an EMP weapon. The EMP the supervisory board notes the in 2004 two Russian generals warned the commission that the style for a Russian EMP warhead to be unintentionally transferred to phibìc Korea. Southern Korean intelligence officials called the push in 2009 that Russian researchers were in phibìc Korea helping to build an EMP weapon. Moreover, the board of directors notes that in 2013 a Chinese army commentator suggested that phibìc Korea already has “Super- EMP atom weapons.”15

Electronic Counterspace WeaponsElectronic


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North Korea has acquired and is proactively using electronic forms of attack against U.S. An are systems. In 2010, the South korean Defense Minister, Kim Tae-young, said in a decided to parliament that “North Korea has imported vehicle-mountable devices capable of jamming gps signals from Russia.”16 this downlink jamming systems reportedly have an effective radius of 50 come 100 km. Phibìc Korea began using this jamming equipment versus South Korea in respectable 2010, however South korean forces might not accurately decide the ar of the jammers at that time since the jamming lasted simply 10 minute in each instance.17

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Caroline Amenabar / audioeditorfree.comIn the year since, phibìc Korea has actually repeatedly provided its general practitioners jamming capabilities against South Korea. Much more GPS jamming emerged in December 2010 and also again in march 2011. The 2011 occurrence lasted 10 days and also coincided through an annual U.S.-Korean armed forces exercise.18 Jamming arisen again in April 2012, disrupting air website traffic at Incheon and Gimpo international Airports, and forcing flights come use alternative navigation systems.19 In 2016, southern Korea complained to the United countries Security Council the the North to be again jamming general practitioners signals across the border, with the jamming coming from five locations in north Korea: Pyongyang, Kaesong, Haeju, Yonan county, and Mount Kumgang.20The South korean Defense Ministry has said that believes the jamming strikes originate from “a regiment-sized electronic warfare unit close to the phibìc Korean funding Pyongyang, and battalion-sized systems closer come the inter-Korean border.”21 The jammers are an installed on mobile platforms and are activate intermittently, and they could be challenging to locate and also neutralize in a conflict. Phibìc Korea shows up to be gaining operational endure using these systems in peacetime. To what level these capability are combined into its all at once military operations stays unknown. Because the gps jammers were obtained from Russia, that is feasible that north Korea could also have obtained other species of jamming capability that can target different satellite systems, such together uplink jammers that can disrupt military satellite communications. Despite South oriental protests to the United countries that the North’s gps jamming is a violation that the 1953 armistice agreement,22 no efficient measures have actually been undertaken to day to curb this activity.

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"Global Counterspace Capabilities"

General Vincent Brooks, commander of united States forces Korea, provided in congressional testimony the North Korea’s well-organized and advanced cyber pressures are perhaps amongst the best in the world.23 Under the Kim Jong-Un regime, north Korea has worked out these cyber forces frequently, launching strikes on southern Korea, the united States, and others. In one of the many widely report incidents, north Korea released a cyberattack versus Sony images Entertainment in November 2014.24 The following month, in a relocate that may have been plan to show the capability to damage physical facilities through cyberspace, north Korea carried out a cyberattack ~ above a South oriental nuclear power plant.http://www.nids.mod.go.jp/english/event/symposium/pdf/2016/E-02.pdf">25 provided its prove cyber capabilities, it is conceivable that North Korea could initiate a cyberattack versus U.S. Room systems come intercept information, together it walk in the Sony attack, or come inject corrupt details that could cause physical damages to U.S. Satellites or the forces that count on them.