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USAF reportedly deployed WC-135 nuclear sniffer plane to Korean Peninsula

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World Defense & Security News - United States
 
 
USAF reportedly deployed WC-135 nuclear sniffer plane to Korean Peninsula
 
According to South Korea's newspaper Yonhap, the U.S. Air Force dispatched a nuclear sniffer aircraft Thursday to the east of the Korean Peninsula amid the possibility of North Korea's imminent nuclear test, a government source said.
     
USAF reportedly deployed WC 135 nuclear sniffer plane to Korean eninsula 640 001USAF reportedly deployed a WC-135W Constant Phoenix aircraft to the Korean Peninsula
(Credit: USAF)
     
"The WC-135 Constant Phoenix, a special-purpose U.S. plane, made an emergency sortie today over the East Sea," the source said, requesting anonymity.

The aircraft is a modified C-135B or EC-135C platform. The Constant Phoenix's modifications are primarily related to its on-board atmospheric collection suite, which allows the mission crew to detect radioactive "clouds" in real time. The aircraft is equipped with external flow-through devices to collect particulates on filter paper and a compressor system for whole air samples collected in holding spheres.

The cockpit crew is from the USAF 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., and special equipment operators are assigned to Det. 1, Air Force Technical Applications Center at Offutt AFB, the USAF explains on its website.

It arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, early this month amid indications that the North is preparing for another nuclear test.

Thursday's flight appears meant to check whether the secretive communist nation has detonated a nuclear bomb.

It also tests operational readiness in the event of an actual provocation by the North, added the source.

There was an unconfirmed rumor that North Korea has notified China of its nuclear experiment plan.

South Korea's military said earlier the North seems all set to conduct what would be its sixth nuclear test at its Punggye-ri site in its northeastern region anytime on the leadership's decision.

(Source: Yonhap)