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US aircraft deployed to the Korean theater

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posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 01:25 AM
I started a thread today about US deployments that were making me nervous. After a couple of questions that came out in that thread about one or two aircraft involved, I thought I'd do a primer on the more important US aircraft that are currently in play near North Korea.

E-6B Mercury:

This aircraft is fielded by the Navy, originally as a command post for relaying orders through VLF/ELF radio signals. The reason that this aircraft is somewhat important is that after the EC-135 Looking Glass aircraft was retired, the E-6B was refitted with a Battle Staff position, to carry a staff of commanders that are capable of relaying orders from the NCA to the military units in the field, including submarines.

One of the more interesting features of the E-6B is the Trailing Wire Antenna system, used to talk to submarines. It's basically a metal cone, on a wire that extends several miles behind the aircraft. When in use, the entire cable holding the cone becomes a radio antenna. Two E-6B aircraft recently left Tinker AFB, deploying to the region it is assumed.


B-1B Lancer:

The B-1B is one of the main bombers in the Air Force inventory. It's capable of supersonic speeds, and a large payload. It's a swing wing design, where the wings will move forward and back depending on the speed of the aircraft (forward for slow speeds, back for high speeds). It holds multiple records for speed over a closed course, climb speed, payload, and many others.

The Lancer is capable of multiple types of payloads, from JDAMs, to cruise missiles, to Small Diameter Bombs. Seven B-1Bs deployed from Dyess AFB, requesting weather en route to Anderson AB. There are an unknown number already deployed there (probably 5-6).

84 500-pound Mk-82 or 24 2,000-pound Mk-84 general purpose bombs; up to 84 500-pound Mk-62 or 8 2,000-pound Mk-65 Quick Strike naval mines; 30 cluster munitions (CBU-87, -89, -97) or 30 Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispensers (CBU-103, -104, -105); up to 24 2,000-pound GBU-31 or 15 500-pound GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions; up to 24 AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles; GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition

B-52H Stratofortress (or BUFF for Big Ugly Fat.....Fellow)

The B-52 is by far the oldest aircraft in the inventory. The youngest of them was delivered in 1962. The version in use today is the H model, equipped with four pods of two turbofans each, for a total of eight engines. They have a very impressive electronic warfare suite on board, but are limited to attacking targets that are in less defended areas, due to their age. They are generally used as a cruise missile launch platform in the early days of a conflict.

The B-52 was the primary bomber in use during the Cold War and was used extensively during Vietnam. They would fly missions from the US mainland, to Vietnam, landing at a base in the area afterwards for crew rest, after which they would return home, or stay in the area flying missions. They would also fly 24 hour long missions known as "Chrome Dome" where they would orbit near the North Pole carrying nuclear weapons on airborne alert. There are currently 6 B-52s from Minot AFB deployed at Anderson AB.

B-2 Spirit:

The B-2 is probably the best "known" of the bombers. It's the youngest in the inventory, and has a history of flying insanely long bombing missions out of their home base in Whiteman Missouri, usually returning there after hitting their targets.

There are currently two B-2s forward deployed at Anderson AB Guam. The bombers are capable of carrying between 40,000-60,000 pounds of ordinance, in various configurations. More importantly however, is the B-2 is the only aircraft in the US inventory capable of carrying the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), a 30,000 pound bomb capable of hitting targets buried deep underground. The B-2 is capable of carrying two of the bombs.


The RC-135 family is a signals/electronic intelligence aircraft based on the KC-135 platform. Originally equipped with basic electronic intelligence capabilities, depending on the model (of which there are many), they are capable of tracking ballistic missiles, to eavesdropping on a cell phone call in the middle of Times Square, to many things in between.

The RC-135 family was recently reengined with the CFM-56 used on the KC-135R model aircraft. This gives them a greater range and loiter time. The RC-135S is equipped with a "cheek" mounted phased array radar system designed to track missiles from launch, as well as a pair of high resolution cameras mounted inside the fuselage. Interestingly, the models with cameras will have the right wing painted matte black, to dull any sun reflection to keep from blinding the cameras.

RC-135s have been used to identify and plot SAM sites, in a very dangerous cat and mouse game. They would fly along an area of border, staying in international airspace, then fly towards the suspected SAM site, trying to get them to bring their radars up and lock onto the aircraft. The site could then be plotted, and identified by the radar used.

And there you have the (currently) most important players in the region. I'm leaving out the fighters, because there are too many, and right now, they're pretty much non-entities, until or unless the shooting starts. These are the aircraft to keep an eye on up until that point.
edit on 4/6/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 01:37 AM
Great pics. I think all of them flew over van isl. last week, lol. Heading to Guam via Alaska.. posted a thread about it, never seen so many contrails. Crazy stuff,
edit on 6-4-2013 by canucks555 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 01:44 AM
Very interesting thread
Thanks fof the information
Let's hope our chubby little friend in NK gets to read it.

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 01:52 AM
The B-2 Spirit is amazing. Looks like something from a Sci-Fi movie.

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 01:54 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

I was about to post this in your other thread Zaph but this thread looks better suited.

Global Hawk to Japan

2 x A-6s and 7 B-1s isnt usually enough to raise my fears, however the capability of those 2 A-6s speaks volumes as to posturing! It would be great to know whats actually already on Guam and also Diego Garcia. Im actually kinda surprised that some B-52s or other air assets are not currently positioning across Northern Australia....

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 02:04 AM
reply to post by Ironside800

E-6s actually. The A-6 is long retired (this is one of the very very few occasions I've seen the military use basically the same designation for two aircraft on vastly different missions). It makes it really confusing for most people (hence this thread to try to help).

With the B-52s on Guam, they may be waiting to move more of them to Australia. With the B-2s ability to fly anywhere from Whiteman AFB, and return to Whiteman after the strike, the B-52s have time. They could fly out of the US, launch missiles into Korea, and recover in Australia to continue to fly more missions.

Thanks for that link, that adds to the information being put out, and helps out.

Here's the factsheet for the RQ-4:
edit on 4/6/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 02:20 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Whoa i screwed up good there! Serves me right for not checking the pictures! I'd just assumed the E-6 was an A-6 variant like the EA-6 Growler. My bad mate! *face palm moment* clearly the new generation of Growlers are E/A-18Fs!

Personally im hoping to see some black project unveiled to diffuse the whole situation and validate a few stories that have been floating around!


posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 02:55 AM
Mmmm I just love the b-1b I always looked forward to seeing them fly. The vibrations in your body as they zoom past on full after burner is amazing. And as old as it is the b-52 always has me amazed beautiful aircraft

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 03:01 AM
Actually zaph here's a question, does my memory decieve me or did the b-52 use to have a Gatling gun located at the rear end of the plane just below the tail. If so any ideas why they were removed ?

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 03:14 AM
reply to post by ThePeaceMaker


Amazingly appropriate choice of words.

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 03:53 AM

Originally posted by ThePeaceMaker
Actually zaph here's a question, does my memory decieve me or did the b-52 use to have a Gatling gun located at the rear end of the plane just below the tail. If so any ideas why they were removed ?

It was a quad set of radar controlled 50 cal guns. Later a M61 Vulcan cannon.

It was used to protect a weak spot in the countermeasure system.

With modern fighting tactics, it is no longer a viable defense system. It has been replaced with other countermeasure technologies.

edit on 6-4-2013 by Mr Tranny because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 04:03 AM
reply to post by Mr Tranny

Cheers for the reply zaph must be asleep lol I could of sworn they had Gatling guns to. Mmmm quad 50cal what fun I could have with those

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 05:45 AM
reply to post by ThePeaceMaker

I was passed out cold.
The A-G had the quad .50s, the H had them replaced, and later removed, as stated.

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 06:19 AM
So it's true you do sleep! Ah fair enough.
For my second line here's a b-1b taking off with full after burner at night looks so beautiful ... I know I am deranged lol
edit on 6-4-2013 by ThePeaceMaker because: Added text

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 07:27 AM
Hey excellent thread, S&F to the OP.

I would like to make an addition to the above list, it has been announced today that RQ-4 Global Hawk has been deployed to Misawa Air Base in Japan. As I understand it the Air Force already has a couple of Intelligence units deployed in that area.

Sky News

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 07:37 AM
reply to post by OtherSideOfTheCoin

Already added the Global Hawk see my first post above with link Global Hawk to Japan.


posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 07:38 AM
reply to post by Ironside800

ahh so you did, sorry I only read through the OP

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 09:13 AM
reply to post by ThePeaceMaker

Occasionally. I have to make sure I don't do something silly like fall asleep and die while driving or something.

Multiply that video times 4 at 30 second intervals, and you have serious coolness. I was at the 9000 foot mark next to the runway one night/early morning when they launched. Talk about loud as hell...

I'm actually surprised there aren't a couple of other types currently in use, such as the E-3 Sentry. There are a handful stationed at Kadena AB in Okinawa, with the Shoguns, but I would have thought that Tinker or Offut would have moved a couple more out there to help increase the coverage. Very useful aircraft to have that.

After RSIP, and the current upgrades it's even more useful. RSIP improved the countermeasures, and improved the radar. The current upgrades will replace the 1970s radar screens with off the shelf commercial systems.
edit on 4/6/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 10:29 AM
WOW, that first pic, sure looks familiar where I live. The E6-B, I've seen this aircraft about a week ago, leaving the Air Force base I live next to. Probably refueling

posted on Apr, 6 2013 @ 10:34 AM
Are those ejection seats?? The 2nd pic of the B1-B lancer, those panels at the top of the aircraft, behind the pilots. Seems along way from the pilots if something was to happen.
edit on 6-4-2013 by Glassbender777 because: (no reason given)

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