Trends, Training, Readiness, and Military Capability
The air force has a marginal capability for defending North
Korean airspace and a limited ability to conduct air operations
against South Korea. Its strengths are its large numbers of
aircraft, a system of well-dispersed and well-protected air
facilities, and an effective, if rudimentary, command and control
system. Its weaknesses include limited flight training; forced
reliance on outside sources for aircraft, most of its missiles,
radars, and associated equipment; and maintenance problems
associated with older aircraft. The effectiveness of ground
training--on which the pilots heavily depend--is difficult to
judge because there is no information on P'yongyang's acquisition
or use of sophisticated flight simulators.
Pilot proficiency is difficult to evaluate because it is
crudely proportionate to hours and quality of flight time.
Although the Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense's
Defense White Paper, 1990 states that flight training
levels are 60 percent of South Korea's, other sources believe the
figure is closer to 20 to 30 percent. Lower flight times are
attributed to fuel shortages, a more conservative training
philosophy, and perhaps a concern for older airframe life
expectancies or maintenance infrastructure capacity.
Data as of June 1993