YouTube / Mark Felton Productions
The Korean People’s Army Air Force is 110,000 strong and operates 950 aircraft in 2022. In total, they are expected to have 35 MiG-29s (their most modern fighter), backed up by 26 MiG-21s and 120 Chongdu J-7s (Chinese-built copy of the MiG-21).
And among its training aircraft are 15 Soviet-era MiG-15s, one of the world’s oldest jet fighters. But that doesn’t stop there, as they also have the Ilyushin Il-28 medium bomber, which has been in service since the ‘50s.
The Soviet-era Il-28 was built in late 1947 and performed its maiden flight in July 1948. Currently, North Korea still has 80 Il-28s, so why are they still operating a jet bomber that old?
Because it provides North Korea with a bomber capable of attacking South Korea and Western Japan conventionally.
In a way, it’s the same reason why the US has held on to the B-52 for this long. Even the Russians did it with their Tupolev Tu-95 Bear, which was all from the Soviet era.
Regardless, the Il-28 remains the world’s oldest jet bomber in active military service today.