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Apr-05-2013 00:51printcomments

Korea Del Norte - China's Very Own Version of Israel

U.S. and China maintain an all-costs committment to back problem states...

Sunchon Airfield, North Korea
Sunchon Airfield, North Korea - Courtesy: Google Earth

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - When viewing North Korea as China's Israel, we encounter many similarities and one profound difference. As an isolationist state, North Korea flaunts its nuclear arms. Israel, which has maintained hundreds of nuclear weapons for decades, does it all illegally.

Blatant grandstanding over nukes is viewed as a sin for North Korea, but the secrecy of Israel's program fails to raise a voice from significant Americans, except of course former President James Carter, who outed the program inside the Dimona nuclear facility.

Either way you stack it, the U.S. and China are all about hypocrisy to the eleventh degree, possibly in the eleventh hour as well. Both Israel and North Korea are fanatical empires; one built on nationalistic compulsion and man-idol worship, one is based on religious and racist aspirations. Both have a bedrock of tragedy.

Though it has expressed criticism of North Korea's nuclear program, China will likely be drug into any war the North Koreans start. The U.S. in all of its promises, willed its military forces with professed commitments toward defending South Korea and Israel. It sure doesn't leave the option on the table of letting the other countries slug it out themselves.

The bottom line is that based on the record and undeniable trends, the United States will participate in any war it can possibly involve itself in, and obviously, as history in recent years shows us, the U.S. has an apparent mission to undermine the rest of the world almost completely to its benefit, unless it is a close ally, and even then...

Extensive information on the North Korean Air Force is published online, however almost everything is outdated, and it is hard to believe the published figures without wanting to ask so many questions that simply can't be answered at this time. I don't think the people who track this information down, or take it at face value from North Koreans, have been able to gather a complete picture.

One online entry places the total amount of North Korean aircraft by type is as follows:

Fighter aircraft: 484
Strike aircraft: 194
Trainer aircraft: 357
Transport aircraft: ~500
Other: 82+
Total: approximately 1,500

In contrast, the United States Air Force operates 5,484 aircraft, 450 ICBMs and 63 satellites, which make it the largest air force in the world. Of course the military's four branches and also the Coast Guard, all operate different types of aircraft.

With the U.S. Air Force alone having more than four times the number of aircraft that the North Koreans possess, the odds for a military conflict if it were to happen,seem dismal for the latter. However, according to an article published in November 1998 by the American Federation of Scientists, Korea Del Norte could strike a devastating blow to its primary enemy.

North Korean MiG 17

    In 1990-91, North Korea activated four forward air bases near the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which increased its initial southward reach and decreased warning and reaction times for Seoul.

    More than 420 fighters, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters were redeployed in October 1995, with more than 100 aircraft moved forward to three air bases near the DMZ. More than 20 Il-28 bombers were moved to Taetan which shortened their arrival time to Seoul from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. Over 80 MiG-17s redeployed to Nuchonri and Kuupri are able to attack Seoul in 6 minutes. According to South Korean estimates, these redeployments suggested that North Korea intends to make a first strike with outdated MiG-17s and the second strike with primary fighters such as MiG-21s and Su-25s[1].

North Korean MiG 21 fighters - Photo:

The MiG-21 is the AK47 of airplanes. This is the most produced supersonic jet fighter in the world.

They were manufactured for years in Russia and China made them as well. MiG 21's were assembled in other parts of the former Soviet Union and supplied the air forces of more than 50 different countries.

This is a robust fighter that shares many similarities with the U.S. McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom, which was also widely manufactured and used from its inception in the late 1950's, until the last few years.

The MiG 21, which is designated the 'Fishbed' by NATO, is known in Russia as a Balalaika due to its similarity to the popular stringed instrument. I have photographed examples of this airplane in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as here in the United States.

I recall when they were widely available to purchase - entire eastern bloc squadrons of MiG 21's went onto the market, spare parts and all. They never cost that much to make, and yet were competitive with western planes. I just looked at Aircraft Shopper online and one is in San Diego for sale right now for $95,000 in flying condition. Yet we taxpayers coughed up $30 to $40 million in the old days for F-15's and F-14's, and far far more today for F-22's.

ABC News reported in June 2012:

    The United States has spent nearly $80 billion to develop the most advanced stealth fighter jet in history, the F-22 Raptor, but the Air Force recently found out firsthand that while the planes own the skies at modern long-range air combat, it is “evenly matched” with cheaper, foreign jets when it comes to old-school dogfighting.

It looks like all of the money in the world can't buy success. Americans have killing ability like few other countries as we have shown the world time and time again, but Eastern planes have often been more maneuverable and function as better dogfighters than those made in the U.S.

Regarding airports in North Korea, the Library of Congress writes:

    Civil Aviation and Airports: In 2003 North Korea had an estimated 78 usable airports, 35 of which had permanent-surface runways and 43, unpaved runways. North Korea’s Sunan International Airport is located 20 kilometers north of P’y4ngyang. It offers about 20 flights per week on North Korean, Chinese, and Russian carriers. Other airports are located at Ch’4ngjin, Hamhßng, Najin, and W4nsan. There also are 19 heliports. The state-run airline, which uses a fleet of 15 Soviet-made planes, is Air Koryo. It provides domestic service to three airports and foreign service to eight cities in China, Thailand, Germany, and Russia. North Korean aircraft are seldom used for transporting cargo. In 2001, according to United Nations statistics, only 5 tons per kilometer were carried by air, as compared to South Korea’s 11,503 tons per kilometer [2].

Many North Korean airfields are dirt, which sounds crude and unusable and would be for American jet fighters. But Soviet military aircraft are built to operate from dirt runways, and they are also constructed to withstand extremely low temperatures. The dirt runway is no enemy to the Russian MiG and SU aircraft. That said, many airfields in this country are paved. As Global Security noted in August 2010, North Korea's Sunchon Airfield, shown in the main photo above, is meager but capable:

    The airfield has a single concrete runway 15/33 measuring 8150 x 157 feet (2484 x 48 m).[1] It has a full length parallel taxiway with two aprons at the ends. One taxiway leads to possible underground storage. It is home to the 55th fighter regiment of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-25 jets[3].

While MiG 15 and MiG 17 jets date back to the Korean and Vietnam wars respectively, the MiG 29 is an extremely advanced jet that in the right hands, would potentially be a formidable enemy aircraft for any western pilots to face. The famous MiG 25 is the fastest fighter jet ever produced on the face of the earth. When pushed to the maximum limits, the plane can outrun absolutely anything that it would engage in combat.

American pilots would probably make short order of North Korean pilots if it really came down, and I am not even referencing the South Korean air forces, which reportedly numbers a total of about 500 combat aircraft, mostly supplied by the Americans, as well as a few Russian, European, and aircraft manufactured in South Korea.

But China is another story altogether and if the U.S. insists on fighting North Korea on behalf of South Korea, it seems virtually impossible that China would not back North Korea as it did in the war fought more than sixty years ago, that technically never ended.

I learned some interesting facts about Eastern Bloc pilots over the course of my reporting career, covering the military. There are vast differences between Western practices, and the methods employed by the Soviet Union in air combat. Eastern pilots for the most part, could only engage in a fight when a forward air controller was present. Pilots from countries like the U.S. and U.K. on the other hand, are trained to fight on their own when necessary. The Russians have learned from these mistakes and they have changed their approach. Whether the North Koreans are progressive in this area is unknown, and unlikely.

[1] Air Bases -

[2] Library of Congress – Federal Research Division

[3] Air Bases - Federation of American Scientists

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yeah April 9, 2013 5:04 pm (Pacific time)

yeah, israel is like north korea. if you say so it must be right. its called "proof by writing it over and over again." i like it. i especially like the part where you say israel is a fanatical empire. like, 40 miles wide? what an amazing empire. i think perhaps the smallest empire in history? you so crazy!

D. Gilmore April 5, 2013 12:50 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Mr King...Not a bad article. I went to my source who went to south korea...Name is Dr. Pachinick. Worked in CIA for years, a whistle blower. He is in Seoul right now. Those in South Korea are laughing at the U.S. right now...North Korea cant even build a car more less than make a nuke to start a war..They laugh at the MSM in the U.S. This is all propaganda, and if anyone doesnt believe me, I have some saddam wmd's to sell ya.. Its called the DMZ zone, and even N.Koreas tanks are outdated...this is all propaganda. Not sure where it is going yet, except as mentioned in a previous post, the powers that be might use N.Korea to start a war to distract their evils of their banking system that is about to collapse... 1907: banking cartel economy collapse, WW1 1929: banking cartel economy collapse, WW2 2008: banking cartel economy collapse, WW3. All wars are banker wars. Sorry to the vets, I am a veteran also, and I know it hurts to watch friends die, and maybe lose a limb, when all we were fightng for was for tyranny and the bankers..I am sorry, but if I dont speak up, more people, including our children will continue the lie, and die. We have to be strong, admit we got duped, in order to change things and get to the truth..

ACRONYM Soup April 5, 2013 2:44 am (Pacific time)

So, the MiG's are SOL without a FAC and the ROK might get FUBAR by those SOB's, I'm sure they have SAM's of course!

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