U.S. Spy Planes Buzz Korean Skies

  • By Yu Yong-weon

    January 22, 2020 12:44

    U.S. special operations transport and surveillance aircraft have been flying over the Korean Peninsula, including a special-purpose reconnaissance aircraft for radiation detection.

    The aerial activity came amid fears that North Korea is preparing a fresh long-range missile launch or other provocation.

    According to CivMilAir, a Twitter account tracking civilian and military aircraft, on Tuesday, a C-146A Wolfhound tactical transport aircraft of the U.S. Air Force headed towards Mongolia on Monday after taking off from Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

    The C-146A Wolfhound has been used to transport plainclothes U.S. special forces and is rarely spotted here since it has carried out operations chiefly in the Middle East and Africa. It can carry up to 27 passengers or 2.7 tons of cargo.

    It is not known whether any U.S. special troops aboard were headed to Mongolia or somewhere else, or what they had been doing here.

    The WC-135W Constant Phoenix

    According to flight tracker Aircraft Spots, an RC-135W Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft of the U.S. Air Force also flew over South Korea at an altitude of 9.4 km Tuesday.

    On Monday, an EP-3E electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. Navy flew over South Korea at an altitude of 7.62 km.

    The EP-3E gathers signal intelligence and can detect electronic signals emitted around the time of a missile being launched and even electromagnetic radiation signals emitted when a nuclear test is conducted on top of analyzing all signals in the sky and on the ground.

    A WC-135W Constant Phoenix special-purpose aircraft of the U.S. Air Force, which is stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan also buzzed skies over the East Sea recently. The WC-135W is the world's only radiation detection aircraft. 

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