A Constant Phoenix performs landing exercises at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, in this U.S. Air Force picture from 2009. The U.S. is sending the planes to Okinawa. © Reuters
Nikkei Asian Review: Americans deploy nuclear sniffer plane to Okinawa
Japan, US forces prepare for possible North Korean test.
TOKYO -- Japan and the U.S. are strengthening their guard against North Korea by stationing an American observation aircraft in Okinawa to detect a possible nuclear weapons test by the Kim Jong Un regime, according to a senior Japan Self-Defense Forces official.
The U.S. Air Force's Constant Phoenix WC-135 can detect telltale radioactive debris released into the atmosphere by the detonation of a nuclear device. The aircraft was deployed to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa earlier this month, the official said. Japan's Self-Defense Forces also are increasing their own surveillance and intelligence gathering.
The U.S. has sent a strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the waters off the Korean Peninsula. Japan has also readied ships equipped with the Aegis missile defense system in preparation for a possible North Korean missile launch. Japanese forces have been under shootdown orders since August and are prepared to intercept a missile at any time, the government says.
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Update #1: Nuke-sniffer aircraft arrives on Okinawa as tensions rise on Korean peninsula (Stars and Stripes)
Update #2: U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 “nuclear sniffer” plane to Japan to monitor North Korea’s possible nuke weapons tests (The Aviationist).
WNU Editor: The U.S. is signalling to everyone that they do not believe that North Korea will heed everyone's warning to not conduct another nuclear test.