US reconaissance aircraft reportedly conducts operation from Greater Seoul toward East Sea

Posted on : 2019-10-14 17:53 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
E-85 J-STARS capable of closely observing N. Korea’s military activity
The E-85 Joint STARS
The E-85 Joint STARS

The E-85 Joint STARS (J-STARS), a US Air Force airborne ground surveillance aircraft, reportedly conducted an operation flight from the Greater Seoul area toward the East Sea. The aircraft, which is capable of closely observing activities with North Korean surface-to-surface missiles, transporter erector launchers (TELs), coastal and long-range artillery, and submarine bases, was making its first operation flight over the Korean Peninsula and surrounding waters since early last year. Its journey appears to signal intensifying US reconnaissance activities against North Korea since the latter’s launch of the Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Oct. 2.

According to information on the military aircraft tracking site Aircraft Spots on Oct. 13, an E-8C conducted a flight on Oct. 11 from the Greater Seoul area at the southern end of Seoul toward the East Sea. The aircraft in question appears to have been one of two E-8Cs deployed by the US on Oct. 5 to its Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. The E-8C departed from Kadena Air Base on Oct. 10.

Equipped with a joint surveillance and target attack radar system, the aircraft is reportedly capable of closely monitoring North Korean troop and equipment movements from an altitude of 9 to 12km. It measures 44.2 x 46.6 x 12.9m and has a cruising speed of Mach 0.8. Once in flight, it can remain in the air for 9 to 11 hours, with a cruising distance of up to 9,270km.

On Oct. 8, an RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft took off from Kaneda Air Base and flew over the waters near Japan. Equipped with state-of-the-art electronic optics, the aircraft is reportedly capable of tracking ballistic missile trajectories at close range.

 a US Air Force airborne ground surveillance aircraft. (Yonhap News)
a US Air Force airborne ground surveillance aircraft. (Yonhap News)

Choson Sinbo reports acquires “another nuclear deterrent” with launch of SLBM

The Choson Sinbo, which represents the North Korean position as the newspaper of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan (Chongryon), said on Oct. 11 that future North Korea-US dialogue would be a process of resolving security concerns between the two nuclear-equipped sides. In an article titled “Choson Shows Off Another Nuclear War Deterrent,” the newspaper said North Korea had “acquired another nuclear deterrent” with the successful test launch of its Pukguksong-3 SLBM ahead of working-level talks with the US in Stockholm.

“The North Korea-US dialogue today is a process of establishing a new North Korea-US relationship as the two sides, each of which poses a nuclear threat to the other, resolve their mutual security concerns,” it wrote.

Noting that US President Donald Trump showed little reaction to the Pukguksong-3’s launch, the Choson Sinbo said, “He might have been concerned that careless remarks could have a negative impact on the North Korea-US working-level talks. In this way, the balance of powers and the relationship of capabilities between the US, which has routinely practiced hegemony, and North Korea, which has pursued justice, is becoming very different from how it was in the past.”

The article also recalled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un referring to the Pukguksong-3 already as a “strategic underwater ballistic missile” and unveiling its overall structure during an August 2017 inspection visit to the Chemical Materials Research Institute of the North Korean Academy of National Defense Science.

“When North Korea uses the word ‘strategic’ for its submarine-related weapons system, its target is trained not merely on the waters off North Korea, but on strategic locations for the US, its adversary in nuclear confrontation,” it said.

By Yoo Kang-moon, senior staff writer

Please direct comments or questions to []

button that move to original korean article (클릭시 원문으로 이동하는 버튼)

Related stories

Most viewed articles