May 14, 2020 11:24
The U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Triton high-altitude drones are flying reconnaissance missions in East Asia, in part to spy on North Korean submarines.
A pair of the drones have been integrated into the Seventh Fleet's operations and training flights, a U.S. Navy statement said on Tuesday. They "stretched the Navy's maritime domain awareness across the Indo-Pacific," it added.
The Triton is the U.S. Navy's newest maritime surveillance and reconnaissance drone. It can fly at a speed of up to 575 km/h and operate at a range of some 15,000 km, staying afloat 30 hours non-stop even in bad weather.
Their deployment may have been prompted by the North's latest development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, a South Korean military spokesman speculated.
The North has built a massive facility at the Sinpo shipyard where it can build three new 3,000-ton SLBM subs at the same time, according to a report released last month by the Panel of Experts under the UN North Korea Sanctions Committee.
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