North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test of a new anti-aircraft weapons system, according to North Korean state media.
The test, which was organized by the blacklisted Academy of National Defense Science, appears to have been successful. Kim has ordered the new system to be mass produced and deployed throughout the country, Reuters reported Sunday, citing the Korean Central News Agency.
“This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy all over the country … so as to completely spoil the enemy’s wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty,” KCNA reported Sunday.
Kim was reportedly accompanied by the three men behind North Korea’s missile program — former air force general Ri Pyong Chol, experienced rocket scientist Kim Jong Sik, and head of the Academy of National Defense Science Jang Chang Ha.
While KCNA did not reveal the specific type of anti-aircraft weapon tested, expert observers assess that the North tested a KN-06 surface-to-air missile (SAM), last tested in April 2016.
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“The weapon system’s efficiency to detect and track targets has remarkably improved and its hitting accuracy has also increased,” KCNA reported, “Some defects in the weapons system, discovered last year, were perfectly overcome.” The KN-06 is believed to be very similar to the Russian S-300 system.
Sunday’s test is the latest in a string of provocations. Last Sunday, the North successfully tested a KN-15 (Pukguksong-2) medium-range ballistic missile, which Kim declared was ready for mass production. The previous weekend, North Korea’s rocket scientists outdid themselves with the North’s most successful weapons test to date. The Hwasong-12, a new medium long-range ballistic missile, potentially has the ability to hit Guam and may be the technological predecessor to a liquid-fueled ICBM.
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