military, training, exercises, war, policy
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was accompanied by his daughter during a visit to the country's defense ministry on Feb. 8, 2024, which is foundation day for the DPRK military. (Rodong Sinmun-News1)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently ordered an expansion in the production, inspection, and deployment of warhead shrouds and engine nozzles for the country’s missile program.

The shroud protects the warhead from high temperatures when the missile re-enters the atmosphere, while the nozzle directs the gases expelled from a rocket engine.

“Orders to expand the production of primary and backup parts for warhead shrouds and engine nozzles and to quickly inspect and deploy a large number of weapons were sent by the leader [Kim Jong Un] through the party’s Central Military Commission to the party’s Munitions Industry Department and the defense ministry’s General Equipment Bureau,” a source in the North Korean military told Daily NK on Apr. 5, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The orders clearly state that the party’s Munitions Industry Department, which is in charge of production at weapons factories, should greatly expand its capacity to produce parts and that the General Bureau of Equipment should speed up the inspection and assembly of weapons systems,” the source said.

The orders to expand production of these and other critical parts are designed to allow North Korea to deploy even more missiles, the source explained.

Simply put, the North Korean leadership wants to increase production of key missile components and rigorously assess their quality so that large numbers of weapons can be deployed in the field. The fundamental goal appears to be to raise the level of North Korea’s military threat.

“The reason why these orders from the leader are emphasized so much is that they are aimed not only at increasing production, but also at using it to rapidly deploy weapons systems in the field and strengthen our military capabilities. The government wants to assemble missiles in greater numbers and at a faster pace so that they can be used at any time,” the source said.

“Internally, these orders from the leader are seen as a crucial milestone in completing our war preparations,” he added.

The Munitions Industry Department relayed the orders to munitions factories under its control, which immediately organized “socialist competition” between factories and assembly lines producing missile warheads and engine nozzles, the source said.

“Workers at the production sites are excited because the party has offered prizes as part of the ‘socialist competition,’ including not only bonuses but also locally made cars,” he said.

Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

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