North Korea conducts test of new 240mm Multiple Rocket Launcher System

North Korea has carried out tests of a newly developed 240mm multiple rocket launcher system, as reported by state-controlled media. The test, conducted on February 11, 2024, involved controlled rockets and a ballistic control system, aiming to assess its precision and establish its technological advantage, according to the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 12, 2024.
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North Korea tests a new 240mm controlled MLRS (Picture source: KCNA)

Details regarding the system's enhanced features or its performance during the test were not disclosed. However, state media emphasized the anticipated growing importance of the 240mm multiple rocket launchers in warfare scenarios. "The introduction of the 240mm controlled rocket launchers and ballistic control systems is intended to significantly transform our army's rocket launcher arsenal," KCNA noted.

Visuals shared by state media, though lacking in detail, appear to indicate that the new artillery system maintains a transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) and 22-tube configuration similar to North Korea's existing capabilities of 240mm multiple rocket launchers.

This advancement in North Korea's military arsenal is unfolding as the nation intensifies its confrontational stance towards South Korea, with plans to station more powerful weapons near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.

Military expert Yang Uk from the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul considers the new artillery system crucial for enhancing the precision of North Korea's corps-level artillery units, targeting military rather than civilian objectives. Nonetheless, Yang mentions that the threat from these guided shells remains relatively minor compared to the existing arsenal of KN-23 short-range ballistic missiles and 600mm artillery systems that North Korea possesses.

"North Korea's attempt to present their new system as a guided weapon doesn't significantly raise the level of threat," Yang explained to our colleagues at NK News. He expressed a certain disappointment with the development but acknowledged the potential need for South Korea to improve its defenses against rockets, artillery, and mortars (C-RAM), possibly including a mobile version of its low-altitude missile defense (LAMD) system to effectively counter these threats.

Some experts are already speculating on the potential for these MLRS to interest Moscow, given their use of similar weaponry, while highlighting North Korea's likely motive of generating revenue through arms sales amidst its financial constraints. Moreover, these new tests come against a backdrop of rising tensions with its neighbor, South Korea. It is clear that the development of a new weapons system will not contribute to de-escalation of tensions in the region.