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North Korean Ballistic Missile Utilizes Components Made by US, Allies

Investigative team from Conflict Armament Research (CAR) found 75 percent of the North Korea missile components were designed and sold by companies based in the United States, 16 percent by European companies, and approximately nine percent by companies based in Asia.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — A North Korean missile launched by Russia against Ukraine last month was found to contain hundreds of components manufactured by American and European companies, according to a recent report by the investigative team at Conflict Armament Research (CAR).

The report reveals that investigators examined 290 components from the debris of the North Korean missile, which targeted the city of Kharkiv in Ukraine.

The team found 75 percent of the components were designed and sold by companies based in the United States, 16 percent by European companies, and approximately nine percent by companies based in Asia.

These components included parts of the missile’s navigation system, originating from firms located in the United States, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, and Taiwan, with the components manufactured between 2021 and 2023.

CAR’s previous reports also indicated that 82 percent of the electronic components found in Iran’s “Shahed” kamikaze drones used by Russia in Ukraine originated from American, Asian, and European countries.

North Korea
North Korea’s latest short-range missile, tested on May 4, looks similar to Russia’s Iskander missile. North Korea describes it as a “tactical guided weapon.”


Observers note that the inclusion of Western components in North Korea’s missiles underscores the challenges faced by the United States and its allies in controlling electronic components once they leave global factories.

It also demonstrates North Korea’s ability to create an undetected network for procuring crucial electronic components for its missile program, despite facing sanctions from the United States and the United Nations.

South Korean analysts believe the short-range ballistic missile launched by Russia against Ukraine, identified as the North Korean KN-23 (Hwasong-11) is capable of striking targets up to 900km away, mirroring the capabilities of Russia’s “Iskander” short-range ballistic missile.

Months ago, South Korean intelligence revealed North Korea supplied approximately 2,000 containers filled with short-range ballistic and anti-tank guided missiles, among other munitions, to Russia.

These shipments, transported from Rajin, North Hamgyong Province to Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, surpassed the 1,000 containers the United States identified on October 13, based on satellite images.

Korea Utara
 Western-Made Components Found in North Korean Missile


South Korean military suspects these 2,000 containers included over 200,000 units of 122mm artillery shells and over a million units of 152mm artillery shells, among other ammunition.

Signs of North Korea’s weapons and munitions supply to Russia have been detected since mid-last year, with a significant increase in shipments noted in August, ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia.

Kim Jong Un met with President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East in September. — DSA