Shelter Recently Dismantled at March 16 FactorySeptember 13, 2018
Commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s March 16 [Truck] Factory indicates that over the past eight months, a shelter has been torn down, rebuilt and then dismantled again. The exact nature of this activity is unknown, however, it is probable that it is related to the North’s ballistic missile program for several reasons:
All known North Korean manufactured commercial and military vehicles are capable of fitting through and undergoing their final delivery checkout using the factory’s existing building entrances and there is no obvious production requirement for a shelter for non-missile related vehicles;
The shelter has a unique stepped configuration with what satellite imagery suggests is a reinforced pad under its highest point—both characteristics that would be essential for testing a transporter-erector-launcher’s (TEL) or mobile-erector-launcher’s (MEL) elevation cradle and detachable launch table;
The temporary shelter mimics the general configuration and functions of permanent structures at the Kal-gol Missile Operating Base and 65 Factory; and
The structure and reinforced pad were first constructed to support the preparation of the Hwasong-15 TEL used in the 2017 test.