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U.S. reconnaissance aircrafts for missile detection fly over Korean Peninsula

U.S. reconnaissance aircrafts for missile detection fly over Korean Peninsula

Posted February. 22, 2021 07:27,   

Updated February. 22, 2021 07:27


Major U.S. reconnaissance aircrafts carried out surveillance missions on North Korea for three consecutive days around one month after U.S. President Joe Biden took office. They seemingly aim to monitor any suspicious movements regarding North Korea’s new missiles and submarines while keeping a close eye on any signs of North Korea’s provocations before the U.S.-R.O.K. joint military drill starts on March 8.  

An EP-3E aircraft or the U.S. Navy’s reconnaissance plane to detect signals flew above the West Sea around Incheon on a long-time flight mission on Sunday, according to multiple websites specialized in military aircraft tracking. One of its main purposes is to capture electronic signals that come out around the time of a missile launch. “It must have watched closely any movements in missile bases across North Korea,” said a military source.

One month after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, on Saturday, an E-8C, or the U.S. airborne ground surveillance plane, showed up above the West Sea around the Seoul metropolitan area and Chungcheong Province. The E-8C can observe transporter erector launchers from as far as 250 km away. On Friday, departing from a U.S. Forces base in Japan, one U.S. air force reconnaissance plan or the RC-135W executed a mission over the West Sea around Incheon. The RC-135W detects signals from remote-control and telemetry equipment used for a missile launch and tracks down a flying missile trajectory. It is analyzed that their surveillance missions focused on capturing any movements regarding North Korea’s new ICBMs and SLBMs which were released last month during a military parade for the 8th congress session of the ruling party.

It was the first time since the new U.S. administration took charge that U.S. reconnaissance aircrafts flew to South Korea for three days in a row. Military observers say that the Biden administration seems highly vigilant about any possible provocation by the North as it has been around one month since its inauguration. That is, Washington is paying close attention to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to prevent him from intimidating it with military threats as the North has just had its military forces realigned since it finished a party congress and a plenary meeting of the party’s central committee.

“The Biden administration must have considered that sooner or later the North may take provocative action to an extent that it can show off its advanced nuclear capabilities while leading Washington back to the negotiating table,” said a military expert.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com