The Air Force
The air force became a separate service in 1948. The air
force adapted Soviet and Chinese tactics and doctrine to reflect
North Korea's situation, requirements, and available resources.
Its primary mission is air defense of the homeland. Secondary
missions include tactical air support to the army and the navy,
transportation and logistic support, and insertion of special
operations forces. A large force, the air force also can provide
limited support to ground forces.
Organization and Disposition
In 1992 the air force comprised about 1,620 aircraft and
70,000 personnel (see
table 11, Appendix). There are three air
combat commands under the direct control of the Air Command at
Chunghwa, one air division (the Eighth Air Division, probably
headquartered at rang) in the northeast, and the Civil Aviation
Bureau under the State Administration Council. The air combat
commands, consisting of different mixes of fighters, bombers,
transports, helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft, and surface-to-
air missile (SAM) regiments, were created by integrating and
reorganizing existing air divisions during the mid- to late
1980s. Decentralized command and control gave more authority to
North Korea has approximately seventy air bases, including
jet and non-jet capable bases and emergency landing strips, with
aircraft deployed to about twenty of them. The majority of
tactical aircraft are concentrated at air bases around P'yongyang
and in the southern provinces. P'yongyang can place almost all
its military aircraft in hardened--mostly underground--shelters.
In 1990-91, North Korea activated four forward air bases near the
DMZ, which increased its initial southward reach and decreased
warning and reaction times for Seoul.
Data as of June 1993