Understanding North Korea

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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby mark_009_vn » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:41 pm

wibod wrote:I hope you have a citation for that SA-2 story!


Just messing with you. It's an urban legend. :P

Legends said that some SA-2s used in the Vietnam war lacked their guidance fins so people had to improvised them out of car wheels. At least it isn't as ridiculous as the story about how the NVA literally welded together 2 SA-2 to make an ultimate SA-2 with double range...

The real story is however, these modifications were regularly done with unguided rockets (DKB/BM-21), and word of mouth spread them to the SA-2 instead because Soviet documents refer all missile and rocket systems simply as "rockets".

Not to mention the Taepodong2 has been tested once and it failed 35-40 seconds after launch.


So what? The Challenger also failed 35-40 seconds after launch... It's not like all tests are successful...

I'd probably be more worried of all their artillery than the nukes, though.


The artillery is a tactical weapon, not a strategic weapon like, per se, nukes. Unless NK have access to sophisticated satellite and ballistic calculation systems, their artillery isn't going to be very accurate or mobile. Also I don't think NK actually have a nuke cannon.

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Hell, they can shoot nukes from artillery.


I don't think the 747 is designed or can be modified to carry nukes, it's just not that feasible, probably the plane will break in haft while in flight...

But the threat of nuclear bombing is very real even though admittedly they'd need Mobius One to execute that plan correctly...

Nukes or not, a war on Hanguk is going to result in a lot of lives lost on both sides as well as some celebrities... A tragic reality for those living in Korea or it's neighbors...
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:16 am

I remember reading that Seoul is in range of said artillery. That is why I would be more worried about them. That info comes from TL, though. A website that thinks dark souls was a good game and has a pro-bitcoin thread going on. So I don't really know if I should trust it for anything besides comedic factor.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby mark_009_vn » Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:21 am

IskatuMesk wrote:I remember reading that Seoul is in range of said artillery. That is why I would be more worried about them. That info comes from TL, though. A website that thinks dark souls was a good game and has a pro-bitcoin thread going on. So I don't really know if I should trust it for anything besides comedic factor.


Seoul is in range of pretty much anything really: missiles, tanks, migs, paratroopers, etc, etc... 45kms is a relatively short distance for most weapon systems nowadays...

I'm more worried about a fleet of bombers carrying nukes/all out combined arms assault, than a few artillery piece, especially since the bombers could reach Seoul is no more than 10 minutes from the DMZ.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby Hercanic » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:16 pm

mark_009_vn wrote:I don't think the 747 is designed or can be modified to carry nukes, it's just not that feasible, probably the plane will break in haft while in flight...

Never mentioned a plane type, but if NK has fatman-level nuke tech then any larger plane, especially a 747, could carry one.

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Shoot, if we're going to talk about 747s, they can ferry an entire space shuttle on their back.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby Dread » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:17 pm

Is the 747 North Korea's idea of a stealth bomber? Shoot, no one would see one of those coming.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby mark_009_vn » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:40 am

Hercanic wrote:Shoot, if we're going to talk about 747s, they can ferry an entire space shuttle on their back.


The airflow is somewhat different, but the engineers have adjusted it to be stable. The 747 that carried the shuttle is an experimental airplane and may not be as stable as a regular 747, but it served the shuttle program very well.

That 747 of yours is heavily modified specifically to fly the space shuttle, you can't just strap something into something else and hope it flies. "Aircraft are wonderful examples of everything working against itself for a common purpose. The engine is pulling the nose downwards and twisting it on its axis, the wings are pulling the aircraft up, while the tail (with the wings) is trying to undo the torque effect (rudder) and the elevators are pulling the tail down to keep the nose up." When you make any sudden change into the plane's airflow, it ain't flying.

Never mentioned a plane type, but if NK has fatman-level nuke tech then any larger plane, especially a 747, could carry one.


I know too little about aviation (aside from those of flight sims) to really say whether or not a 747 could carry a 5 tones nuke... The only thing I know is that the Tu-204 used by NK is a lot less capable in terms of range and carrying capacity than the 747, although it could still possibly carry a nuke with massive modifications...
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby Dread » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:20 pm

There are a series of cargo variants for the Boeing 747 that have capacities ranging from approximately 300 to 440 tonnes. These variants include side-loading or nose-loading ports. So transportation wouldn't be that big a deal. I mean even the commercial airliner variants could carry the weight but I was thinking more about how to load it.

As for deploying it in a traditional bomber-like fashion; that is dropping it out of a depressurized bay of some sort. Well, that's probably not going to happen with a 747.

So I'm not sure if this is about arming a bomb to go off with a collision, trigger, or something like that. I'm not really sure, it's not really practical. They're usually pretty finicky and you don't really arm them until the last few moments to avoid as much chance of incident as possible. Plus it's not like many commercial airliners are jetting off from North Korean airspace to neighboring nations.

If they wanted to use a 747 they could load one up and fly it around the world to anything that they want. Just that you'd likely recognize the radioactive signature of a very strangely loaded 747 flying out of a country that traditionally has an airspace that every commercial service and their partners avoid like the plague. I'm saying they could try; but really it's going to immediately find itself being tracked, escorted, and in all likelihood prohibited from entering any allied airspace.

The only really practical [read: could be successful] deliveries are going to be stealth flight or ICBM.

Sure they could probably stick it in to a commercial cargo plane and orient it towards South Korea or something. Sure, it could probably get off the ground. Sure, they could possibly maybe arm it immediately; but in so doing make it incredibly sensitive to just detonating at any point in the flight. Plus it'd probably immediately raise alarms once it deviated from a normal flight path to an extent that it appeared to be traveling towards allied regions.

It's a really impractical and wasteful delivery method. Maybe a terrorist organisation in some fictional novel would try it out but my guess is that the North Korean military would probably want to be able to deploy it conventionally. I mean, they are spending all of this time trying to deploy ICBM technology. I guess they could just start flying cargo planes in every direction instead.

Anyway, I'm not even sure if North Korea operates anything close to a 747. According to my exhaustive research in Wikipedia their air force operates a Ilyushin Il-76 that could handle the weight and might even be able to drop it out the rear bay loading area. It's just not going to likely find any easy way to do that or leisurely cross any borders out of North Korea.

They seek some kind of recognition or respect for their military power. Everything they have been doing has been to research a conventional and potentially modern way to deploy a nuclear weapon. It would be highly peculiar to observe the about face where they try a hodge-podge fleet of suicide cargo planes that would have no hope in hell of getting anywhere.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby DrumsofWar » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:38 pm

IskatuMesk wrote:I remember reading that Seoul is in range of said artillery. That is why I would be more worried about them. That info comes from TL, though. A website that thinks dark souls was a good game and has a pro-bitcoin thread going on. So I don't really know if I should trust it for anything besides comedic factor.


The artillery is a real threat and has been analyzed by both South Korea as well as the US. The general forecast is that they'll make an opening strike on Seoul which will produce civilian casualties (hundreds to thousands) but those positions will then be instantly annihilated by counter-artillery, mortars, airstrikes, JDAMs, cruise missiles, and so on.

This would reduce North Korea's military capability to either a human wave attack on the DMZ, infiltrating through secret tunnels (which they tried in the 60's and failed losing thousands of agents), or some kind of diverting strike via its submarine fleet.

A good deal of the artillery could also be held in reserve in anticipation of a US-South Korean ground invasion but it would still likely fall victim to aerial bombing unless China somehow blocks this.

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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby Hercanic » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:39 pm

mark_009_vn wrote:That 747 of yours is heavily modified specifically to fly the space shuttle

Sure it's been modified, such as attachment points for the shuttle to stay on the plane. But we're still talking about the 747 chassis, the 747 engines, and the 747 carrying capacity. I brought up this example to show extreme weight, not airflow, though the latter could still be solved.

In any case, I'm talking about loading a nuke into the plane's cabin, not strapping it to the bottom of the plane. It wouldn't be very incognito with a bulging bomb under its fuselage.

mark_009_vn wrote:I know too little about aviation (aside from those of flight sims) to really say whether or not a 747 could carry a 5 tones nuke...

Eleven 6'3/190cm tall healthy adult males of moderate build = ~1 tonne. If a plane can seat at least 55 people, not even including their luggage or extra fuel for intercontinental flights, it can hold a 5 tonne nuke. A 747 regularly seats between 250 to 650 passengers, depending on its layout and seating arrangement. Rip out all the unnecessary chairs and other superfluous junk and you've got even more weight to spare.


Dread wrote:Just that you'd likely recognize the radioactive signature

Passive detection of an un-detonated nuclear bomb is not currently possible. Uranium and plutonium have a very long half-life, with plutonium at 10,000 years and uranium at ~1 billion years. This means they output relatively little radiation, as only a small fraction of their atoms are decaying at any given moment. Only when fission occurs are enough unstable atoms created to output the radiation levels we can detect beyond ~10 unshielded meters. We do this by detecting telltale fission fragments of xenon and iodine in the air.

We do have one active method of detecting fission materials called "active interrogation." This is used at places like a boarder crossing where we have time to patiently analyze the cargo of a truck. It works by blasting the container with photons/neutrons and seeing if the right gamma rays come out. Because you have to physically pass the container through this device, it obviously won't work on a plane several thousand miles in the sky traveling at hundreds of miles per hour.

Dread wrote:but in so doing make it incredibly sensitive to just detonating at any point in the flight.

No, nukes don't work like that. They aren't like nitroglycerin or antimatter. It actually depends on their design. They need exact things to happen at exact times to reach a critical mass. The conventional explosives used could accidentally go off, but as long as you're using a cone design and not a hemisphere design it's relatively safe. The US Air Force has dropped plenty of nukes by accident, including a 25-megaton "Mark 17" from a B36 Bomber onto Albuquerque, New Mexico.

All you'd need to do is cart a nuke into a large plane's cabin, fly it toward your target, take a low altitude, and detonate the bomb inside the plane in midair. An air burst is the most destructive detonation type with the least amount of fallout. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned a suicidal pilot. You'd essentially turn the plane into a low-tech nuclear cruise missile.

Dread wrote:They seek some kind of recognition or respect for their military power. Everything they have been doing has been to research a conventional and potentially modern way to deploy a nuclear weapon. It would be highly peculiar to observe the about face where they try a hodge-podge fleet of suicide cargo planes that would have no hope in hell of getting anywhere.

Would they do this? Maybe not, but then again look at the 1987 bombing of Korean Airlines.

Could they do this? This has been my point, in the face of dismissal of their nuclear capabilities because they lack traditional means to deliver them. Push a volatile regime far enough, and they might not care about the backlash.
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby Dread » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:38 pm

The United States has been working on space-based sensors since the late fifties. The nuclear Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) and earlier VELA HOTEL satellites. There have been public acknowledgements over the functional aspects of those satellites as well as some advanced VELA HOTEL satellites. You brought to light technologies used on the border now. Given we've been playing at theories here- I wouldn't discount how advanced these systems have become to detection and tracking when a device isn't being experimented on in hardened bunkers underground.

Then again, there hasn't been any examples of military advancements only recently coming to light that have been classified and actively in use for long periods of time. You know- stealth transport helicopters, different DARPA projects, etc. Anyway, I'm not guaranteeing they could anymore than you can guarantee to me that the capabilities aren't already deployed.

Hercanic wrote:The conventional explosives used could accidentally go off, but as long as you're using a cone design and not a hemisphere design it's relatively safe.
You linked an article where the, "conventional explosives", were separated from the fissile materials. You linked an article that even highlights this as a reason that chain reaction was not possible. Now assemble the device- have the, "conventional explosives", and the fissile materials assembled and armed, repeat the accident, and recognize the risk.

As for, "no nuke don't work like that"; when a nuclear weapon is being transported it's not armed. Any modern weapon is relatively stable when it has not been armed. Accidents have occurred on devices in transport (i.e. United States, Israel, some shot down, lost, dropped, etc.). None of them were entirely assembled and armed. I'll use the article you linked to highlight something,

"Though a chain reaction was impossible, because the plutonium pits were stored separately on the plane, the incident spread radioactive contamination and debris over a mile-wide area. Although the military cleaned up the site in secret, a few fragments of the bomb - some radioactive still - may be found in the area. It is one of more than 30 known "Broken Arrow" incidents involving the accidental loss or destruction of a nuclear weapon."

I am simply highlighting the fact that nuclear weapon components are generally not entirely assembled/ armed during transport. In this fictitious scenario that we've been establishing here where North Korea would use some sort of suicidal transport as a delivery method; the device would likely be immediately assembled and armed in order to maximize the destructive outcome no matter what was the resulting outcome. It is not as stable or risk-free in this state. You wouldn't want to end up under anti-air fire conducting evasive maneuvers in this state.

If they didn't immediately assemble and have the device armed the transport could immediately be destroyed with relatively minor chance of serious fallout. If the device were assembled and armed; the outcome could be much more calamitous.

Furthermore, I don't remember suggesting low orbit detonations weren't dangerous. I just don't see the feasibility considering any North Korean threat would be immediately tracked and as you can imagine rather quickly dealt with before it could immediately endanger allied regions. Any commercial transport or flight would raise red flags as soon as it had deviated from a set flight plan, in the scenario where they try loading it in to some kind of commercial transport. Any military plane wouldn't be anymore likely to deviate into allied airspace. There's a long history of planes wandering in to neighboring airspaces in that region of the world- examples exist of commercial airliners or military flights being shot down.

So what, North Korea is going to load an armed nuclear weapon, aim itself towards the south, and be shot down over top its own region? It's kind of a ludicrous plan. Also as far as orbital detonations being calamitous to electronics and so on. Sure, commercial technologies might be in for some pain, but military components have had a long history of improving EMP shielding. The same research that DARPA has been performing since the 50's for different bombs, etc., has also been conducted to handle EMPs (i.e. MIL-STD-2169 (Classified) (High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse Environment, etc.)).

They could do anything they want; that's true. They've just invested their full attention to an ICBM. I'm not suggesting they can't do an about face and load planes, use agents- or what have you. Their plans so far as a nuclear weapon has been mounting it on a missile. They don't have any hope in hell of using a conventional bomber or these ludicrous transport plane suicide missions to really have an impact in any strategic sense. The fallout on themselves would likely be incredible at the mercy of their own weapon if they tried detonating it mid-air at whatever point they knew that they would get no further (i.e. about to be shot down or what have you). Conventionally you would escort a bomber with escort squadrons. None of these really pose a risk to allied forces whose technology and capabilities are decades ahead. It's reflected in North Korea's own decisions thus far that they recognize that they won't be able to handle equipping a bomber with a nuclear weapon and putting it to any real use. They have also recognized their incapability at inventing a functional stealth technology whereby a bomber could become feasible once again. They have positioned themselves to attain the only form of technology that could potentially pose a legitimate risk of nuclear attack in the region with nuclear mounted missiles and ICBM technologies. That's where they're banking things, and that's probably where it's going to perish.

Also, I'll probably checkout of this discussion soon. Whereas in earlier posts I said there was something to be gained by this discussion; eventually the discussion does need to change before it gets stale. We're not running 24 hour news here people! Oh, and it's true, I'm writing a lot right now, partially because I know Hercanic won't read half of it, and mostly because I'm just having some fun now. <3
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Re: Understanding North Korea

Postby IskatuMesk » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:47 pm

All I know is that you will learn to love the bomb.
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