Chinese Company’s Trucks Used to Mount North Korean Missile System

At a North Korean military parade on March 4, 2016, a new Multiple Rocket Launcher System (MRLS) was displayed that appeared to be mounted on a Chinese cargo truck, identified as the HOWO model of the Chinese company, Sinotruk.  It is speculated that these vehicles were originally provided to North Korea for civilian use in the country’s mining and construction industries.  China, however, uses a similar model of Sinotruk‘s HOWO truck for its own MRLS systems.  Sinotruk is a diverse, multinational company with assembly plants and operations positioned around the world, as demonstrated elsewhere within IntelTrak.

Mounting the new MRLS system onto these trucks would, according to experts, be a relatively simple task.  Rockets fired by this system have an extended range of over 100 km, reducing their vulnerability to counter-battery fire by U.S. or South Korean artillery.  In response to this recent discovery, China vowed to strengthen its own export controls.  Sinotruk, however, did not respond to comment. 

This is not the first time North Korea has repurposed trucks imported from China for military use, as shown in transactions identified previously by IntelTrak.  In 2012, North Korea converted trucks sold by the Hubei Sanjiang Space Wanshan Special Vehicle Company, a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), into transporter erector launchers (TEL) for its KN-08 ballistic missiles.