Who could supply rocket engines to DPRK?

Author : Pavel Felgenhauer

Source :

Commentary of Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer in connection with the NYT publication of report on alleged missile engines supplies from Ukraine to DPRK
22:26, 16 August 2017

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Launch of North Korean missile, July 2017

I think, no one really supplied missile engines to North Korea, it's not that they get the engines, put on rockets and launch them. Probably, the technology was transferred ... The Koreans themselves have long established the production of heptyl and oxidizer for heptyl rocket engines. They used to have low-power engines, copies of engines for a short-range missile R-17, known as Scud in the West. And now they have shown powerful engines, and they, as far as it can be understood, produce them, make some copies, but make them themselves. It's not that they have constant supplies to North Korea.

Where did they get the technology? It is clear that they received it from another country, because they did not have any evolution of engines, to receive more powerful ones. It happened suddenly. The technology was obtained from somewhere. It could be obtained from Russia, from Ukraine; they could obtain several engines or one, or parts of the engine. There could be specialists of Russian or Ukrainian origin. Theoretically, this could be a technology leak, some engines could remain in Kazakhstan, in China. Although, most likely, this is either Ukraine or Russia.

Related: Poroshenko requests investigation on alleged delivery of ICBM engines to North Korea

Officially, the Russian Federation and the DPRK do not cooperate. And Ukraine does not cooperate with them, and there are no deliveries of engines, it is a secret leak of technologies that could happen, it could be done by private people, and they then adjusted it and began to build their own things. In Ukraine, such engines have never been produced anywhere and no one produces them. These technologies are more than 60 years old, these are old technologies... Russia launches heptyl rockets and even produces "Proton". Russia uses heptyl strategic sea and land-based missiles. But their engines are still somewhat different.

In general, there could be such leaks. It was proved, that under Kuchma in 2000, 12 or even more strategic long-range cruise missiles X-55 were secretly exported from Ukraine. Formally, according to the documents, they were to be sent to Russia for disposal, but in reality they were taken to China, Iran with additional equipment. Apparently, not only a private trader, who was later killed in the Ukrainian prison by unknown persons, participated in this but also corrupt Ukrainian officials. If there was a leak from Ukraine, it is generally unclear when this happened. It could have been under Yanukovych, it could have been under Yushchenko with Yulia Tymoshenko. Because starting production of such missiles takes a lot of time.

At the same time in Moscow this information was officially rejoiced. Yesterday state television channels said a lot was said about this, adding that now sanctions against Ukraine will be introduced. Moscow would like it to happen. I do not think there is any evidence that this publication was organized directly from Moscow. Although theoretically nothing can be ruled out.

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