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Iran/China air recon by the USAF

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posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:05 AM
A couple interesting blog posts today about air recon by the USAF. Several heavily redacted documents from 2010 were released via FOIA, but even with redaction you can learn quite a bit about recon around China and Iran.


In three months, RC-135U Combat Sent aircraft flew a total of 34 missions (the 35th aborted). Of the 34 flights, 18 were Diamond Sent missions, near the Chinese heartland (industrial areas), 3 were Sapphire Sent monitoring the southern areas, where anything for going after Taiwan would be, and 8 were Cheyenne Sent which were in the Sea of Japan. The remaining five flights that year were near North Korea. Combat Sent is used to track and identify radar systems (ELINT missions). This is the aircraft that will identify the new radars that China is building and provide the information on them.

From June 23-July 16, November 2-7, and November 27-December 29, Cobra Ball aircraft deployed to Kadena to fly missions to monitor Chinese ballistic missile activity. Cobra Ball is used to photograph, and gather ELINT on ballistic missiles during tests.

Almost year round in 2010, there was an RC-135V/W Rivet Joint in the area. Rivet Joint is used for SIGINT missions, and can locate even fairly weak signals and track them.

There were three U-2s in South Korea to monitor the North year round, with another one dropping in between June and July to monitor China.


Over in the Middle East it seems that the US completed surrounding Iran with the UAV fleet in 2010. In September of 2010, the ACC circulated a Pre-Deployment Site Survey for sending RQ-170s to the UAE. The Sentinels are deployed in groups of three, allowing for 24 hour surveillance, while one is down for maintenance. In October of that year, Air Force officials met with the UAE about deploying them to Al Dhafra. It's assumed that they did deploy though little is known about the meeting.

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 09:12 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

AF is always on the job - always has been. Thanks for the info and link ( unable to S/F sorry ).

In the early 1950's, my father flew similar missions to those you describe ( 55th recon , I believe ) in modded B-29's ( RB-50 ). There were losses, and many more than most people would believe.

I hope it's not so dangerous for these guys...

posted on Jan, 27 2014 @ 11:29 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58

I wonder how many "other" aircraft are also keeping an eye on those two?
......and maybe not limited to flying in international airspace?

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