N.Korea Nears Completing Ballistic Missile Support Facility

Based on satellite imagery, US expert Joseph Bermudez, published a report concluding that a new facility, related to North Korea’s expanding ballistic missile program, is nearing completion near Pyongyang International Airport.

According to this report, since 2016 North Korea has undertaken the construction of a uniquely configured facility on the southwest corner of Pyongyang International Airport and approximately 17 kilometers northwest of the capital city of Pyongyang.

Some of the unique characteristics of this new facility suggest that this facility is likely designed to support ballistic missile operations and for the interim is identified as the Sil-li (신리) Ballistic Missile Support Facility, according to this report, charectarics such as:

  • Layout, configuration, and large size of the buildings
  • Interconnected buildings designed for drive-through access
  • Raised centre section (i.e., a high-bay) on the largest building
  • Large underground facility (UGF) adjacent to the facility
  • Wide-radius road network connecting all the buildings and the UGF
  • Unusually large covered rail terminal and new rail spur line
  • Location relatively close to ballistic missile component manufacturing plants in the Pyongyang area

The configuration and size of the facility, the report suggests, indicate that it can be used for, the assembly of ballistic missiles from components delivered by rail from nearby ballistic missile component factories, accommodate all known and anticipated North Korean ballistic missiles and their transporter-erector-launchers , mobile-erector-launchers or transporter-erectors,  storage of ballistic missiles and their transporters, or any combination of these functions.

The report includes a detailed description of the 442,300 square meters facility.

"The most visually distinctive features of the Sil-li facility are its three large interconnected drive-through buildings. [...] The largest drive-through building measures approximately 122-meters-by-43-meters with an approximately 6-meter-wide bay door at either end. [...]  Significantly, the building has a 37-meter-by-30-meter elevated center section (i.e., a high-bay) that is high enough to allow for a Hwasong-14 or Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on a TEL to be easily elevated into the firing position to allow for testing of both, as well as the training of maintenance and ground crews."

"All the bay doors and passageways on the three buildings are wide enough to accommodate all known North Korean ballistic missiles and their associated TELs, MELs, or TEs. By comparison, the two smaller buildings by themselves and the larger building by itself are larger than the horizontal processing building either at the Sohae Satellite Launch Facility or Tonghae Satellite Launch Facility. [...] Sometime during late-2019 and early-2020, a small building was erected west of the covered rail terminal. Its size and location suggest that it may serve as offices for a small facility guard force."

Source - Center for Strategic and International Studies 

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