While the world is battling to overcome the deadly coronavirus, North Korea is reportedly building a facility near Pyongyang International Airport to accommodate all its ballistic missiles. In a report published by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the undisclosed facility is ‘nearing completion’ and is almost certainly related to the country’s expanding ballistic missiles program.
The report by CSIS is based on the analysis of satellite imagery and the researchers said that the facility is located approximately 17 kilometres northwest of the country’s capital Pyongyang. According to the researchers, the notable features include a largely underground structure, an unusually large uncovered rail terminal and interconnected buildings designed for drive-through access. The officials also noted that the new facility is relatively close to ballistic missile component manufacturing plants in the Pyongyang area.
CSIS in the report said, “Taken as a whole, these characteristics suggest that this facility is likely designed to support ballistic missile operations and for the interim is identified as the Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility”.
It further added, "As such, it is another component of the North Korean ballistic missile infrastructure that has been undergoing both modernization and expansion during the past 10 years”.
North Korea's Sil-li Ballistic Missile Support Facility is able to accomodate an elevated Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile and any other North Korean ballistic missile variant.— CSIS (@CSIS) May 6, 2020
Read the new @CSISKoreaChair analysis: https://t.co/wiDWmA3hTC pic.twitter.com/xjd3KpPyKT
However, the CSIS officials also noted that the facility still has unfinished security wall, presence of temporary construction buildings and storage units within the facility, completion of nearby worker housing units and incomplete railroad spur line. They also predicted that if construction continues just like its current pace, the facility will be completed and ready for operations sometimes during late-2020 or early-2021.
While explaining the facility, the CSIS noted, “Excluding the new housing units in the village of Sil-li, the facility encompasses approximately 442,300 square meters, including three large drive-through structures, a large adjacent drive-through UGF, and a covered rail terminal—all connected by a 9- to 10-meter-wide surfaced road network with wide radius turns suitable for the movement of large trucks and ballistic missile launchers”.