North Korea’s Thunderbird Runways

Monday, 19th May 2008 by

As any bond villain will attest, a true megalomaniacal dictator should have a number of underground lairs from which to hatch evil plots.

As we can see, North Korea's Kim Jong-Il and his associates have plans to go one better than the average Bond villain, and are imitating the Thunderbirds with this runway being constructed underneath a mountain.

The runway, in the region of Wonsan, sticks out a bit at either end so we can measure it at 1800m long and 30m wide. A close up of the entrance shows it's still being constructed.

The idea here seems to be that foreign military satellites (and Google Earth enthusiasts) would be unable to see what aircraft North Korea have under the mountain, so if a war broke out Thunderbird 2 could use the runway for launch.

The North Korean military are apparently so convinced that the "runway mountain" is the future of modern warfare that they've actually built three separate runways across the country. This second example is in the area of Onchon.

I've never claimed to be a military expert, but this all seems a bit mad to me - surely the benefits of hidden aircraft are outweighed by the fact that it would be very easy for an attacker to completely ruin the airbase with one strategically placed bomb at the entrance?

Thanks to danescombe.