ThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1638 posts, RR: 1 Posted (11 years 2 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5383 times:
I know that the North Korean Air Force during the Korean War relied on contingents of Russian and Chinese pilots both in training and in combat. Given the current situation with North Korea, I was wondering about their Air Force in the present: what sort of operational aircraft do they have; how large a force is it; are they capable of mounting a strong attack/defense; are they capable of delivering nuclear weapons?
LY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 10 Reply 1, posted (11 years 2 months 1 week ago) and read 5282 times:
They apperently have some MiG-15's, MiG-19's, MiG-21's, MiG-23's, MiG-29's, Su-7's, Su-25's, Il-28's, Mi-8/17's, and An-24's. My guess would be that most of the a/c are not in flyable condition, with the exception of some MiG-29's, Su-25's, and some helicopters and transports. The Il-28 sounds like a good candidate for carrying a (small) nuke.
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 2, posted (11 years 2 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5289 times:
I wouldn't discount their aircraft being flyable...
The MiG-19s and -21s are most likely being well maintained with extensive Chinese aid. The MiG-15s are most likely trainers, which are still being used in the PRC as well, thus spares for those are no problem either.
The Su-7s might be a problem, but Chinese supplied A-7s would have supplemented or replaced those (A-7 is based on the MiG-19).
Il-28 is indeed a good candidate for carrying nukes. The PRC also operates them in that role so technical support is again no real problem.
Ryu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 476 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5194 times:
Yeah, most of DPRK miiltary strength is in the army, and ground SAMs for air defense, and not Air Force. They are so close to South Korea, it's not really necessary to have long-range bomber or attack planes.
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 7, posted (11 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5211 times:
Quite possibly through blackmarket armsdeals, or from Vietnam.
The US Army left quite a few behind there after the war (not to mention the inventory of the South Vietnamese military).
China also builds (built??) some western aircraft (either under license or by reverse engineering them), among others the MD-80 and Gazelle.
That might also be a possibility.
The MiG-21s and -23s would be considered frontline fighters. While not the most modern, they are a match for the older ROKAF aircraft.
ROKAF still has quite a few old aircraft, notably F-5s, in service.