SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – North Korea will continue focusing on enhancing and operating non-kinetic counterspace and electronic warfare capabilities to attack and disrupt the United States and other adversaries’ space systems, the US military said, defining the country as an emerging challenge to the US’ space posture.
The US Defence Intelligence Agency on Tuesday (April 12) released a special report called “2022 Challenges to Security in Space” to address the threats to the US’ space capabilities.
The report identified the threats as mainly from China and Russia, and to a lesser extent by North Korea and Iran, and examined these countries’ space strategies and systems.
The US’ adversaries “are now seeking ways to expand their own capabilities and deny the US a space-enabled advantage”, the agency said, taking note of the US military’s heavy reliance on space-based systems such as a global positioning system.
The Defence Intelligence Agency assessed that North Korea has specifically developed and demonstrated electronic warfare capabilities, which enable the country to “conduct electronic attacks to disrupt, deny, deceive, or degrade” the US and its other enemies’ space services and assets.
“North Korea has demonstrated non-kinetic counterspace capabilities, including GPS and SATCOM (Satellite Communication) jamming, and probably intends to deny space-based navigation and communications during a conflict,” the report said.
Jamming and spoofing are part of the techniques that can be used in electronic space warfare. With the techniques, North Korea can prevent adversaries from receiving intended signals or deceive adversaries by transmitting a fake signal with erroneous information.
The Defence Intelligence Agency also underscored that “Iran and North Korea will focus on increasing their capabilities in the civil and military domains to counter space-based services”, labelling them as “emerging challenges” to the US’ space posture and security.
China and Russia, antithetically, continue to develop and deploy counterspace weapons including ground-based lasers and anti-satellite missiles.
“Iran and North Korea will continue to develop and operate electronic warfare capabilities to deny or degrade space-based communications and navigation,” the Pentagon’s intelligence agency said.
The US military said “both will maintain their ability to conduct electronic warfare against adversaries”, echoing the US government’s continued concern about North Korea and Iran’s counterspace and jamming capabilities to target satellite communications and positioning, navigation and timing services.
But North Korea and Iran also “theoretically could use their missile and SLV advancements to target orbiting satellites”, the military intelligence agency warned. The SLV is the abbreviation of a space launch vehicle.
The Defence Intelligence Agency elucidated that North Korea’s ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles such as the Unha-3 “in theory could be used to target satellites in a conflict”.
North Korea has pressed to develop “electronic warfare as an essential tool in countering the threat posed by advanced Western weapon systems and precision-guided munitions”, the Defence Intelligence Agency said last October in its “North Korea Military Power” report.