Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Underground Airfields: The DPRK


During the Cold War, NATO and Warsaw Pact nations erected numerous hardened aircraft shelters (HASs) to protect their multi-million dollar combat aircraft during wartime. Over time, this practice spread throughout the world's conflict zones, with similar structures being found in many Middle Eastern and Asian nations. Some nations, however, took this practice one step further: they began building full underground facilities (UGFs) to store aircraft.

UGFs are commonly used in many nations to store and protect military hardware, but only a few nations have used them to protect their combat aircraft. These nations include the DPRK, China, and Taiwan in Asia, and Albania, the FRY, Sweden, and Switzerland in Europe. In this feature, the facilities used by the DPRK will be examined.


Twenty major airfields in the DPRK feature significant UGFs for storing combat aircraft. In addition, two locations feature unique runway layouts incorporating UGFs, and seven airfields feature no UGF storage facilities. The locations of these facilities can be seen in the image below. The airbases incorporating UGFs are marked in red, those lacking UGFs are marked in blue/white, and those incorporating hardened airfields are marked in yellow.


Very interesting. Switzerland has similar airfields (hidden runways, actually) also built at the height of the Cold War.

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