North Korea

North Korea Military Stats


  • Air force > Combat aircraft: Number of fighter aircrafts (fixed wing aircrafts with combat capability).
  • Army > Main battle tanks: Number of main battle tanks.
  • Expenditures > Percent of GDP: Current military expenditures as an estimated percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Global Peace Index: The Global Peace Index is comprised of 22 indicators in the three categories ongoing domestic or international conflicts; societal safety; and security and militarization. A low index value indicates a peaceful and safe country.
  • Military branches: This entry lists the service branches subordinate to defense ministries or the equivalent (typically ground, naval, air, and marine forces).
  • Military service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of service obligation.
  • Navy > Aircraft carriers: Number of aircraft carriers.
  • Navy > Submarines: Number of patrol boats (includes minesweepers).
  • Paramilitary personnel: Paramilitary.

    No date was available from the Wikipedia article, so we used the date of retrieval.

  • Personnel: Armed forces personnel are active duty military personnel, including paramilitary forces if the training, organization, equipment, and control suggest they may be used to support or replace regular military forces.
  • Personnel > Per capita: Armed forces personnel are active duty military personnel, including paramilitary forces if the training, organization, equipment, and control suggest they may be used to support or replace regular military forces. Per capita figures expressed per 1,000 population.
  • Service age and obligation: This entry gives the required ages for voluntary or conscript military service and the length of sevice obligation.
  • WMD > Missile: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of missile weapons of mass destruction
  • WMD > Nuclear: A description of the nation's situation with regards to the possession and manufacture of nuclear weapons
Air force > Combat aircraft 661 2011 4th out of 11
Army > Main battle tanks 3,500 2011 5th out of 11
Expenditures > Percent of GDP 22.9% 2003 1st out of 109
Global Peace Index 3.04 2013 9th out of 162
Manpower fit for military service > Males age 16-49 2013 47th out of 225
Military branches North Korean People's Army: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force; civil security forces 2005
Military service age and obligation 18 is presumed to be the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 16-17 is the presumed legal minimum age for voluntary service 2012
Navy > Aircraft carriers 0.0 2011 9th out of 11
Navy > Submarines 70 2011 1st out of 9
Paramilitary personnel 189,000 2014 7th out of 147
Personnel 1.29 million 2005 5th out of 160
Personnel > Per capita 57.59 per 1,000 people 2005 1st out of 160
Service age and obligation 17 years of age 2004
WMD > Missile North Korea began its missile development program in the 1970s and tested an "indigenous" Scud-B ballistic missile in April 1984. Pyongyang subsequently produced the 500km-range Scud-C, the 800km-range Scud-D, and a 1300km-range missile known as the Nodong. In August 1998, North Korea flight-tested the Paektusan-1 (Taepodong-1) in a failed attempt to place a small satellite into earth orbit. North Korea is continuing to develop the so-called “Taepodong-2,” which is estimated to have intercontinental range. The Taepodong-2 has not been flight-tested, but U.S. intelligence analysts believe it could be ready for testing at any time. Pyongyang has deployed as many as 600-750 ballistic missiles, including about 175-200 Nodongs. In December 2002, Spanish and American naval forces intercepted a North Korean ship loaded with Scud missiles, but then allowed the ship to proceed to deliver the missiles to Yemen. There were rumors in 2003 of Burmese plans to purchase ballistic missiles from North Korea, but it is unclear whether any transactions have been completed. In late January 2004, North Korea and Nigeria reportedly agreed to a missile deal, but Nigeria backed out of the agreement in early February under U.S. pressure. North Korea has exported missiles, missile components, and technology to Egypt, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, and Yemen. In September 1999, Pyongyang agreed to a moratorium on missile flight tests and later announced that it would maintain the moratorium until at least 2003. North Korea is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). 2004
WMD > Nuclear On 10 February 2005, a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry announced that North Korea had manufactured nuclear weapons. On 19 September 2005, the North Korean delegation to the Six-Party Talks in Beijing signed a "Statement of Principles" whereby Pyongyang agreed to abandon all nuclear programs and return to the NPT and IAEA safeguards. However, on the following day a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry declared that the United States would have to provide a light-water reactor to North Korea in order to resolve the lack of trust between the two countries. The sudden announcement raised doubts about the Statement of Principles, but the Six-Parties have agreed to meet again, probably in November 2005. Although North Korea has not conducted a nuclear test, in early May 2005 press reports indicated that US satellite imagery had detected signs that North Korea could be preparing to conduct a test in June. In early April 2005, North Korea shut down its 5MW(e) reactor in Yŏngbyŏn-kun and declared that the spent fuel would be extracted to "increase North Korea's nuclear deterrent." North Korea had been operating the reactor since late February 2003, so North Korean technicians should be able to extract enough plutonium from the spent fuel for 1-3 nuclear bombs. North Korea's nuclear infrastructure began with the establishment of a nuclear energy research complex in Yŏngbyŏn-kun in 1964. The Soviet Union provided a small research reactor at the site in 1965, and North Korea subsequently expanded the complex and built a number of new facilities, including a large plutonium reprocessing plant (Radiochemistry Laboratory). North Korea signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1985 but did not submit to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections until May 1992. Discrepancies between North Korean declarations and IAEA inspection findings indicate that North Korea might have reprocessed enough plutonium for one or two nuclear weapons. According to a December 2001 National Intelligence Council report, the U.S. intelligence community ascertained in the mid-1990s that North Korea had produced one, possibly two, nuclear weapons. In mid-2002, U.S. intelligence discovered that North Korea had been receiving materials from Pakistan for a highly enriched uranium production facility. In October 2002, the U.S. State Department informed North Korea that the U.S. was aware of this program, which is a violation of Pyongyang’s nonproliferation commitments. North Korean officials initially denied the existence of such a program, but then acknowledged it. The U.S. responded by announcing in November 2002 that it would suspend heavy fuel oil shipments being provided under the terms of the Agreed Framework, which had led North Korea to freeze its plutonium production facilities. Pyongyang then declared the following month that it was lifting the freeze on its nuclear program, ostensibly to generate electricity. In late December 2002, North Korean technicians broke seals and disabled cameras that had been installed by the IAEA in order to monitor the freeze. North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors on 31 December 2002, curtailing the Agency’s capacity to monitor Pyongyang’s nuclear activities. The IAEA has not been able to verify the completeness and correctness of North Korea’s initial declaration submitted in 1992, and the Agency cannot verify whether fissile material has been diverted to military use. On 10 January 2003, North Korea declared its withdrawal from the NPT. The treaty requires a 90-day waiting period, but Pyongyang claimed the withdrawal was effective immediately because 89 days had transpired in 1993 when North Korea initially announced its intention to withdraw before "suspending its intention to withdraw from the treaty." In late February 2003, North Korea restarted its 5WW(e) reactor, and in March, reports indicated that technicians were active at the Radiochemistry Laboratory, and on 2 October, the North Korean Foreign Ministry declared that the reprocessing of 8,000 spent fuel rods had been completed “to increase its nuclear deterrent force.” On 12 May 2003, North Korea declared that the "Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" of 20 January 1992 was no longer valid because of "violations by the United States" [Note: the United States was not a signatory]. Estimates vary on how soon North Korea could begin operating a uranium enrichment plant, but Pyongyang probably could not produce significant quantities of weapons-grade HEU until the end of the decade. In April 2003, Egyptian customs officials intercepted 22 tons of aluminum tubing from Germany that would likely have been used for a pilot cascade of about 100-200 gas centrifuges, which indicates North Korea is probably not yet ready to begin operation of a large-scale plant. North Korea has reportedly established a facility to produce UF6 at the Yŏngbyŏn nuclear complex, which gives Pyongyang the capability to produce the stock of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas to feed the cascades of centrifuges in a large-scale plant. 2005


Did you know

  • North Korea ranked first for personnel > per capita globally in 2005.
  • North Korea ranked first for personnel per 1000 amongst Cold countries in 2005.
  • North Korea ranked #11 for manpower fit for military service > males age 16-49 amongst East Asia and Pacific in 2013.
  • North Korea has had the highest expenditures > percent of GDP since 2002.

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