Modernizing Air Defense: North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong-un’s Visit to Russian Fighter Jet Factory
Kim Jong-un’s Visit to Russian Fighter Factory
During a recent five-day visit to Russia, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un displayed his keen interest in modernizing his country’s air defense capabilities. A significant part of his visit was to the ‘Yuri Gagarin’ fighter jet factory where he was seen seriously engaging in explanations about Russia’s latest stealth fighter, the Sukhoi-57.
Attempt to Close the Gap
This move is being interpreted as an attempt to modernize North Korea’s fighter jets and secure parts to overcome the country’s air force’s relative inferiority compared to the United States and South Korea. In a speech at the National Defense Development Exhibition two years ago, Kim expressed concern about South Korea’s military introduction of F-35A stealth fighter jets and emphasized strengthening national defense.
South Korea’s Advanced Military Fleet
Currently, the South Korean military has introduced a total of 40 F-35A fighter jets, which play a crucial role in the ‘kill chain’ of the Korean-style three-axis system. These jets possess stealth capabilities that prevent detection by enemy radar. With a top speed of Mach 1.6 and a combat radius of over 1,000 km, they can secretly infiltrate and bomb key North Korean facilities in a hypothetical situation.
Further Strengthening of South Korea’s Air Power
The South Korean military plans to introduce additional F-35A jets by 2028. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency under the U.S. Department of Defense has tentatively approved the purchase of F-35 equipment worth 6.7 trillion won requested by the South Korean government. This includes F-35 fighter jets, engines, electronic warfare equipment, and military and technical support. Experts anticipate that an additional 25 jets will be introduced in the future, further strengthening the South Korean military’s air power.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to the Russian fighter jet factory is a clear indication of his interest in modernizing the country’s air defense capabilities. While South Korea continues to advance its military fleet, North Korea’s attempts to close the gap through modernization are evident. As both countries continue their efforts to strengthen their defense, the dynamics of their military power will continue to evolve in the future.
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