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A Visual Guide to North Korean Fighting Vehicles

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans

Click on the equipment to get a picture of them in North Korean service.


- If several configurations of a vehicle with one designation are known, they are added as such.

- The part within apostrophes refers to an unoffical name, suich as the US DoD M-xxxx designation system (referring to the first year the system was identified).

- A year in square brackers after the designation of a vehicle refer to its perceived date of inception.

- All vehicles listed are presumed to still be in use with the Korean People's Army.

- All vehicles listed are presumed to still be in use with the Korean People's Army unless indicated.

- Last updated on 14-03-2017.




Infantry fighting vehicles

  • BMP-1 ''Korshun'' (Not yet seen)
  • BTR-80A 

Armoured personnel carriers


Reconnaissance vehicles

Military engineering vehicles


Command vehicles


Amphibious transports

Heavy mortars

Self-propelled mortars

Tank destroyers

Towed artillery


Self-propelled artillery

Multiple rocket launchers


Towed anti-aircraft guns


Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns


Self-propelled SAM systems


Static SAM systems


Coastal Defence Missile Systems

Artillery Rockets


Ballistic Missiles

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

  • Tupolev DR-3 / M-141 Reys (Documented by a few sources, not yet seen)
  • Shmel-1 (Documented by a few sources, not yet seen)  
  • Unknown UCAV (Can also be carried on a trailer






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  1. hi,
    great work.
    found these links with some informations and pictures:



    1. Thank you for your feedback, we did indeed use some of the information found on blog.naver.com as you can see in the "special thanks to" section at the bottom.

      If you have any more questions/suggestions, please don't hesitate to let us know!

  2. ZIL-157 seems to bee the chinese Jiefang CA-30 (look closer at the picture) ?

    1. Thanks for the heads up! The list has been changed accordingly.

  3. hi,
    in late kpa-journal three arv are mentioned aka bts-4a, t-34t and an apc-based arv. do you have any informations orre evidance?


    1. We purposely left out these vehicles for a number of reasons:

      - There is no available modern footage of them in KPA use.
      - There is no concrete evidence that they used or are still using T-34Ts, considering the access to other ARVs such as the BTS-2 and Chonma ARV.
      - There is just one source that we know of claiming they are still in use.

      The possibility of such vehicles still being in use of course cannot be ruled out, but until we see further evidence we'd rather leave them out, as we have done with other vehicles that have similar arguments going against them.

  4. any informations are welcome. sorry forget to put the link:

  5. thanks for replying!

  6. Hello, i'm really interested to know if there is some debate online over the Pŏn'gae-6 SAM missile and differences with Pŏn'gae-5/KN-06.

    Also i've worked a bit on the North Korean Navy myself (thanks google translator): i've read you could plan to make a page for the KPN itself too: i'm especially interested about your opinion at what appears to be the new corvetters of 76metres of lenght visible both in Nampo and Najin. I've wondered if they're fully new ships or conversions of illigally imported hulls, because in older version of GE pages appears to have differences: however i've failed to identify known warsaw pact/soviet/chinese corvettes with that specific lenght. Also noteworthy are new smaller warships as the SES in Nampo, the stealth ones on the east fleet (plus one on building in Nampo in 2013) and at least 2 classes of smaller patrol ships of 40mm (3 ships of 2 classes, with some differences but probably equal weapons that include oto melara clones of 76mm)

    1. We have some limited information on the Pŏn'gae's, but you will have to wait for it until we write a post about it ;)

      Pretty much the same goes for the Korean People's Navy. Feel free to share your work though!

    2. I've wrote much here on an italian-based forum (text it's all in italian (i'm italian) but i guess it can be translated good with Google Translator).
      The actual part concerning KPN isn't finished and it's all a WIP thing...

      I've to say that i'm basically surprised by the high pacing of some ship-building: the north koreans seems to have basically put on sea and armed the two new 40metres patrol boats all this year (while usually the took LONGER time). Same thing it's for the SAS Stealth ship (not the "SAS missile boat"): the second unit for the Eeast Fleet it needed AGES to be completed: while in Nampo is visible the first unit for the Western Fleet and on 2013 pictures it has a much more fast ship-building.

      As last thing i've to add that sadly GE doesn't upload some terribly needed harbours as Arang-dong island on the West Coast (possibly home of the Krivak frigate) and the Pipagot submarine base (that has no updates in years).

      I had made previous post about other potential nations that could be involved in warfare with west (Sirya, Iran, Myanmar, Cuba) i've not included Venezuela.
      At the same time i had made a little work about submarines of such nations
      and a little list of the known iranian/north korean torpedoes.

      I've to say that i'm absolutely NOT an expert (i study biology)

    3. Thanks for sharing some of your work! Both pages are sure to come in useful during the creation of the KPN list.

      If you're looking for new satellite photos of North Korean harbours (which are indeed rather scarce among free sources) you might want to try using other providers than Google Earth. I'm pretty sure for instance that Terra Server has some much more recent (but very poor quality) footage of Arang-dong island.

      Could you also link to your posts about Syria?

    4. It's the same discussion, just on the first page (i wrote it because it seemed very close the intervent of NATO, the last fall), about that page i could just adds that i think that the modern sirian fast missile boats are Pekyap rather then Tir class: i think it's clear due the shorter size and design (Planeman made awesome designs of both the classes). About them we should take reminded that Iranians obviously claims they're all Iranian made and designed (as the Ghadir submarines) while they're clearly derivations of of north korean classes. Concerning Pekyap/Tir i was planning to write a little details: that North Korean seemed to use them just for motor torpedo boats (rather then missile boats) and this could be actually a more reasonable use because just looking the fresh imagines of the last Sirian naval exercises (that show a Pekyap) that with naval missiles "break" the attempts to make a stealthy profile.

      I just forgot that there was also this: http://www.iranmilitaryforum.net/military-news-discussion/north-korean-military-thread/200/
      (some posts about new naval stuff)
      Be careful that's an iranian forum: western and american users are allowed but are banned if there anti-governative posts about the current Iran system.

    5. I'm sorry, my mistake... just realized now: Sirians have actually Tir.
      Don't know what i was thinking when i wrote it ... moreover the units clearly visible in Al-Beida harbour (northern then Latakia) has very clean pictures of them (and they've all 21 metres of lenght)

  7. http://i.imgur.com/28EfxL6.png

  8. Fascinating blog. I just stumbled across it. Very well done!

  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aVS3LpjPyA
    0:15 120mm "M-1992" Self-propelled mortars
    0:18 122mm (Indigenous D-74) Chuch'ep'o "M-1991"
    I think,this picture is very rare.
    From japan.

  10. DPRK's have 2version HOME MADE BTR(8×8).
    Deference is side of body.
    Version1 is equipped with a side port similar to BTR80.
    Version2 is equipped with a side port similar to BTR80A.

  11. Last unknown truck: Volvo F88 (many were exported to GDR, btw.)

  12. The Gereman provenience of the Volvo trucks was only my guess. Many F88 were purchased by the GDR from Sweden in the late 60ies/early 70ies. Maybe the Koreans got ahold of them, when they were phased out prior or shortly after the German unification.
    But the DPRK could also bought the trucks directly from Sweden (just like the GDR did) or got them from another third party.

  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dPB76SIO_0&feature=youtu.be&t=2395

    can you identify the system at 40:18
    the three barrelled thing on the left, looks to be some sort of MLRS
    any ideas?

    1. That link doesn't lead to it, but I'm assuming you mean this 370mm beast:
      It's a triple-barreled recoilless gun carrier, a prototype of which was built in 1984.

  14. Has your book, NORTH KOREA'S ARMED FORCES. ON THE PATH OF SONGUN is been published?
    someone tell me, it`s not yet and keep delaying.

  15. AK-74 or version NK coupled with a rifle swivel-sliding shutter


  16. All right keep up the good work !


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