Monday, January 18, 2021

Beautified Russian-Origin MiG-29s, Su-25s Take Limelight In North Korean Military Parade

North Korea on Saturday celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Korean workers’ party, by organising a night-time military parade at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang. Various new military hardware were displayed which included ballistic missiles, fighter jets, tanks and other defence equipment. 

Besides the ballistic missile, as EurAsian Times reported, another interesting and eye-catching equipment that was displayed by the Korean People’s Army Air Force was the decorated MiG-29 air superiority fighters and Su-25 ground attack aircraft with green neon light strips.

These were shown in a video release of the parade from North Korean channels, where the MiGs and Sukhoi jets made their appearance operating from DPRK’s Sunchon Airbase, which is situated about 30 miles north of Pyongyang. Reportedly, the jets were lit up with light strips to make them more visible during the night.

“The video then showed the various formation aircraft taking part in the flypast (7x MiG-29s and 7x Su-25s, along with AN-2 and Y-5 biplanes) from several viewpoints, with a camera installed on the airframes as well as in the cockpit: the footage of the MiG-29 releasing flares over Pyongyang as the pilot gave the military salute in the cockpit was pretty impressive,” wrote David Cenciotti for The Aviationist.

North Korea’s aircraft inventory mainly comprises of Russian and Chinese aircraft. Currently, it operates about 35 MiG-29 jets, which include the initial-production A variant, the twin-seater training UB variant, and the slightly upgraded SE variant.

In addition, it has around 150 MiG-21s (including both Russian and Chinese manufactured), 56 MiG-23s, around 20 Su-7s.

Surprisingly, it is probably the only air force in the world to still operate the historical MiG-17 and MiG-19 variants (Chinese license-built J-5s and the “disposable” J-6s). The MiG-19 was the world’s first mass-produced supersonic fighter aircraft introduced in 1955 and was the first Soviet aircraft capable of attaining supersonic speeds in level flight.

Apart from that, DPRK’s air force also operates Su-25 ground attack aircraft, and, also one of the only remaining operators of the historical Il-28 bomber aircraft – whose design dates back to the immediate postwar period, and had its first flight in 1948.

The parade also showed several land-based hardware, which includes new tanks- said to be copies of the Russian T-14 Armata tanks, and new Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) – allegedly the copy of American Stryker tank destroyer variant.

In a first after 2018, it showed new Inter-continental ballistic missiles, one of which is said to be the “biggest-ever”, capable of reaching distances over 10,000 kilometeres or more.

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