USAF Deploys WC-135 "Nuke Sniffer" to Japan Amid Expected North Korean Nuclear Test

WC-135C - 62-3582
Source: JetPhotos

The USAF has deployed the WC-135C "Constant Phoenix" aka "Nuke Sniffer" to Kadena Air Base, Japan amid rising fears of an imminent North Korean Nuclear Test.

I previously reported upon the WC-135's deployment to RAF Mildenhall, UK during speculation that increased Iodine-131 levels in Europe were the cause of the deployment, but as we saw, the aircraft was just conducting standard operations in the Mediteranian Sea... Now, As a result of rising tensions, with nuclear threats being made against the US and South Korea, by the North... WC-135C "Constant Phoenix", Registration : 62-3582 has been deployed to Kadena AB, Japan to monitor any nuclear activity coming from the North.

According to Nikkei Media Outlet,
"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."

As U.S. Aircraft Spots usually has accurate and up to date tracking data on aircraft mentioned in posts, This particular WC-135 was last picked up by Mode-S Receivers contributing to Live Military Mode-S Logs on March 13, 2017 by a feeder in Holon, Israel.

ADS-B Exchange however, did have a single ping from this exact aircraft on April 2nd, 2017 near 
Southeast Nebraska. The altitude indicated was 11,000 feet so it's unknown whether the aircraft was launching or recovering from Offut AFB, where the 45th Reconassaince Squadron, home of the Two WC-135C Aircraft, is stationed. The lack of tracking data from recent days is interesting because we know the aircraft returned to the US after deployment in Europe, and we know the aircraft has deployed to Japan in the past days... So perhaps the transponder was turned off while it was in transit from the US to Japan ?

Shown above is the last known position of WC-135C 62-3582 as of April 2nd, 2017 & shown below is the latest data that ADS-B Exchange has of the aircraft.

What makes the WC-135C so unique, is its on-board atmospheric collection suite, which allows the on-board crew to detect real time radioactive debris which can determine whether or not any nuclear activity is occurring. The aircraft is additioanlly equipped with an external flow-through probe to collect particulates on filter paper, enabling the on-board crew to analayze the data collected, in real time.

The WC-135 can hold 33 crew members which includes, the cockpit crew, special equipment maintainers from AFTAC (Air Force Technical Operations Center) as well as any maintnance personnel. But, on active deployment sorties the crew is limited to the pilots, special equipment maintainers, and naviagtors in an effort to reduce the risk of any possible radiation exposure to unecessary crew members who are not required for the mission.

This post will be updated if any more information is found or made available from officials regarding the aircrafts prescence or mission.


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