Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Rebuttal To NYT North Korea Missile Story – Scandal

The three missiles tested by North Korea are powered by the same engine complex, with one main engine and four steering engines.

If you weren’t following international news closely yesterday, you might have missed the firestorm surrounding the NYT story, North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say, which is based on an IISS story, The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success.

The crux of both of these stories by the same author basically accuses Ukraine of supplying D-250 rocket engines to North Korea, when, in fact, most likely it was done by Russia or one of three other countries that have those engines available for export (all illegal). 

The author, Michael Elleman, has been publicly castigated, his Twitter account deleted, but he still appears to be employed by IISS. For how long, only time will tell. 

A comment by a Western expert:

Western MSM are truly such gullible dullards. How many have cottoned on to the fact that IISS and NYT were conned and the rest of them took the bait hook, line, and sinker?

Deutsche Welle seems to get it: Where did North Korea get its missile technology? | World | DW | 15.08.2017

Even a picture of his wife is causing scandal, where she is apparently wearing a Russian uniform. She was never a Russian soldier, however. She is a professional linguist.

A very forceful “contradiction” is below, from the rocket engine design firm, Yuzhnoye. 

There is more.  Much more.  For a separate blog.  Russia is going to choke on this scandal. 

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Contradiction To The Article ” The Secret To North Korea’s ICBM Success” By The International Institute For Strategic Studies And The Article “North Korea ’s Missile Success Is Linked To Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say” By The New York Times

August 15, 2017

The article “The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies as well as the article “North Korea’s Missile Success is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say” by The New York Times groundlessly overshade the Ukrainian companies Yuzhnoye State Design Office and Yuzhmash Production Association, and link the companies with latest successful testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles of North Korea. It is worth mentioning that the author of the first article is Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, while in the second article he is repeatedly referred as an expert and information source.

Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash as well as all the frontline worldwide community show serious concerns by the fact that North Korea incrementally evolves its potential in the area of intercontinental ballistic missile rocket complexes. In the meanwhile Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash, the highly recognized experts in rocket technologies, believe that this dynamic development of rocket technologies would be impossible without foreign support.

The authors and so-called “experts” in the aforesaid articles come to ungrounded conclusions that the source for such technologies could be Ukraine. Hereby Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash strongly deny these unsubstantiated statements and inform on the following:

1. The figures and characteristics of the North Korean engines references by the authors in their conclusions are clearly not the RD-250.

2. The authors of The New York Times article confirm that the RD-250 was developed in Russia and quote specific name of the engine developer company. However for some reason they make straightforward ungrounded conclusions that the technology leakage comes from Ukraine. Indeed the developer of the RD-250 engine is Russian Energomash SPA. Yuzhnoye never developed similar engines using hypergolic propellants and open-cycle scheme. After completion of its development the RD-250 engine was transferred into production to Yuzhmash. During production of the RD-250 engine, any deviation from design documentation could not be implemented without coordination of such deviation with the engine developer – Energomash SPA.

3. After becoming independent, Ukraine was no longer producing any missiles neither for Russian Federation, nor for its own needs or for any other country. Starting from 1991 the production lines at Yuzhmash for manufacturing of engines with characteristics similar to the RD-250 were partially dismantled. The production line for the SS-18 ballistic missiles and their engines manufacturing was completely destroyed. On this account currently the company has no production technologies for manufacturing the rocket engines of the mentioned configuration.

4. In regards to the references of the article authors about the Ukrainian cooperation critical dependence from Russian orders, Yuzhnoye declares that Moscow never addressed Yuzhnoye with respect to developing new modified
SS-18 missiles. And even if this would happen, Ukraine could never do that following its international commitments.

5. All engines qualified for flight use including the RD-250 abandoned the territory of Yuzhmash exclusively in the rockets. The only engine that was ever delivered by Yuzhmash as a stand-alone component was the VG143 for the fourth stage of the European Vega launch vehicle.

6. According to statements of Michael Elleman, who had numerous tours to Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash ten years ago, for some reasons he failed to or did not want to pay attention to the maximum militarized security control of the companies territory. This fact, combined with Ukraine being a member to the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the country that fully complies with its requirements, excludes any unauthorized possibility for technology transfer. Then again, in contrary to conjectures in the articles, the Governmental Authorities of Ukraine hold exhaustive control over rocket and space complex of Ukraine. Custody and arrest in Ukraine of spies from North Korea merely confirms the fact of technology protection reliability.

7. Michael Elleman hypothecates that the technology transfer to North Korea on the RD-250 engine was performed within the recent two years. Indeed any specialist in rocket engines having expertise in practical implementation of projects would confirm that developing an engine during two years without technology transfer is impossible. Moreover, authors of the aforesaid articles never wondered: “Where did the propellants (UDMH and NT) come from for development testing and operation of the engine?” This is widely known that these propellants were never produced and are not produced now in Ukraine. Once again this technical contradiction disputes the credibility of the expert deductions made in the mentioned articles.

8. Another factor from The New York Times article raising doubts in professionalism of its experts is their statement that engines for missiles launched from a submarine are way more complex than engines for ground-based missiles. It is not clear how this thesis can serve for making conclusions about the technology transfer being made by Ukraine. In parallel, the authors of the above-mentioned articles acknowledge that some engine production technologies for sea-based missiles were already transferred to North Korea by Russia.

9. In his IISS article, Michael Elleman gives arguments about the possible technology transfer to North Korea by the fact that in 2016 Yuzhnoye experienced serious financial difficulties. That information is not reliable as well since in the past decade Yuzhnoye confidently expands its financial capacity and considerably widens and strengthens international cooperation in the area of peaceful space exploration. This information is provided at Yuzhnoye’s web-site.

Unfortunately, rhetoric of the article authors and the “experts” about post-revolutionary chaos in Ukraine is very similar to the untruthful fakes that are actively spread today by the majority of Russian mass media about Ukraine. Such publications can lead attention of community and political leaders away from real problems and result in fatal consequences. Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash express serious concerns in regards to The New York Times being one of the most respected information source not only in the US but worldwide, builds up its analytical materials based on conclusions of questionable experts and representatives of the so-called “American Intelligence Agencies”. Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash recognize importance of the problem related to maturation of North Korean rocket technologies and believe that analysis of the situation should be performed by professionals.




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