Just call me a star-eyed optimist…


A lot of wild stuff out of North Korea lately, not any of it very chilling for someone sitting safe and sound in the middle of Indian Territory. Hell, even the citizens in South Korea’s capitol don’t seem too concerned with the North’s latest rhetoric — because they’ve been paying attention and have been hearing this bluster for decades.

All the concern about one or more Musudan IRBMs being moved to N. Korea’s east coast is being vastly over-played in the western (U.S.) media. Those ‘undecided voter’ types could be very scared by this sort of thing, but really, it’s nothing.

The Musudan design is a virgin, with static ground tests but never an actual launch. The recent movements are most likely a preparation for a first-ever test firing on April 15, to coincide with the 101st birthday of Kim Il Sung.

The Musudan is based on a Russian sub-launched ballistic missile that’s been scaled-up (just like they did with the Scud design). It is a “semi-mobile” missile because it doesn’t have the structural integrity to be fueled while laying on its TEL vehicle (not many liquid-fuelers do). It has to be transported and erected before fueling can even start, and a large entourage of support vehicles (or fixed assets) are required. There is nothing stealthy about this arrangement.

The ‘Mushu’ uses a hypergolic liquid fuel mix of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO, aka nitric acid). Once fueled it has to be launched pretty immediately, before  the NTO eats through the tanks and KABOOM. Field de-fueling isn’t really considered a safe option with this hypergolic mix either, because just spilling NTO results in a ‘BFRC’, or “Big F*cking Red Cloud”, which can really ruin your day. Since the Norks have such a fondness for underground bunkers, the term “gassed like badgers” would likely apply. Until we see a Musudan actually fly, it remains more of a threat to the ground crew than to anyone else in Asia. (Update 04/15/2013: just found the Vandenberg Fire Department’s guide to dealing with rocket fuel/oxidizer hazards. Hydrazine explodes when it hits rust, apparently. Who knew?).

The Really Big News out of the region is that China is growing very tired of this new punk ruler’s erratic actions. China has increased military deployments along its border with North Korea, whether as a sign of their treaty obligations or just to deal with the expected wave of refugees if things “go south”, who knows? But, when North Korea recently requested China send a high-ranking envoy at the deputy-ministerial-level,  China rejected the request.

The Chinese are businessmen, after all, and the Norks’ closure of the very profitable Kaesong industrial complex was probably the stupidest damned thing anyone in China could imagine doing. A hot war in China’s backyard would be very bad for business, indeed. I’m betting they won’t let anything like that happen.

Update, Sunday morning: You gotta love a public rebuke! From the NYT-  “The Xinhua News Agency on Saturday quoted Foreign Minister Wang Yi as telling United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Beijing would “not allow trouble on China’s doorstep.”


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4 Responses to “Just call me a star-eyed optimist…”

  1. Chris Andrews Says:

    Offlogic, you are awesome! Good observations all! Refreshing common sense with some good tech stuff inserted as well. Actually, it shows that you have some expertise in the field. Thank you.

    Chris A

  2. Chris Andrews Says:

    Oh yeah, hilarious pic/vid as well!


    • offlogic Says:

      Hey, all I know is what I read in the funny pages. The Norks usually test a new South Korean leader.This time, the Norks have a new leader too, and the Southie this time is female. The trash talk just got a little more rancorous because of this. They’ll be getting back to begging for food soon enough.

    • offlogic Says:

      Yeah, China has piped up on just what they’ll not let happen in their neighborhood. They were staring right at the Boy King of the Norks when they said it.

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