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N.K. boosts electronic warfare capabilities

North Korea is independently developing a GPS jamming system effective over more than 100 kilometers, according to a government report on Tuesday.

The report by the Ministry of National Defense said the North imported some 20 different kinds of communication and radar jamming instruments from the then Soviet Union.

Submitted to the National Assembly’s Defense Committee, the report said the North is now believed to be developing new electronic warfare devices capable of jamming GPS signals within a radius of more than 100 km.

It is speculated that the North currently has deployed vehicles mounted with Russian-made GPS jammers with a range of 50 km to 100 km in two or three areas near the Military Demarcation Line.

The ministry has confirmed that the North has electronic warfare units in key locations throughout the country, including in a regiment in Pyongyang and in each of the frontline corps.

The ministry was unclear as to whether the North has developed electromagnetic pulse bombs, which can disrupt electronic devices through surges of electromagnetic radiation.

“No confirmation (of EMP bombs in the North), but considering the North Korean military’s tendency to develop electronic warfare devices and other countries’ efforts to develop EMP bombs, the North is likely to look to develop such bombs,” said an official.

According to military officials, when the North jammed GPS signals in Seoul and surrounding areas last March, it had some effect on the navigation systems of weapons that use common GPS signals. But the officials added that radar and inertial navigation systems were unaffected and that the military plans to replace common GPS signals with military GPS signals.

The report comes amid concerns that the South is significantly behind the North in its electronic warfare capabilities.

It was also found, through inside sources, that the South Korean military did not activate cutting-edge tracking systems when the North fired shells last month near the sea border, otherwise known as the Northern Limit Line.

“When the North Korean military fired shells on Aug. 10 at roughly 1 p.m., we did not have the Artillery Hunting Radar System on,” said a military official.

The unnamed military official went on to say that the military only activates ARTHUR when they believe there is a threat, and that the device can overheat and cannot be used over a long period of time.

ARTHUR, brought in this year, is reportedly ineffective compared to other devices like the Hostile Artillery Locating System which was used to detect the origin of the August shelling.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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