US military reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Seoul metropolitan area Tuesday, in a move that appears aimed at reinforcing surveillance activities over the Korean Peninsula following North Korea’s recent projectile launches.
According to Aircraft Spots, an aviation tracker site, the US Air Force’s RC-135W reconnaissance aircraft flew over Seoul and Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. The reconnaissance aircraft also patrolled over South Korea on May 8, a day before Pyongyang fired two projectiles into the East Sea, and on May 13.
RC-135W (USAF site)
The aircraft also conducted surveillance over the South’s metropolitan regions on April 18, 19 and 29.
While the aircraft’s patrolling activities may be part of regular practice, experts say they may also be part of measures to prepare against additional missile launches by the North.
North Korea launched multiple projectiles, including new “tactical guided weapons,” into the East Sea on two occasions, on May 4 and 9. After the first launch, the communist regime claimed it had conducted a “regular strike drill,” like other normal states.
On Tuesday, North Korea’s Radio Pyongyang, a state-operated radio station, reiterated that its firing of projectiles came under a “normal exercise schedule” and claimed that South Korea was violating an inter-Korean military pact by holding joint military exercises with the United States.
South Korea and the US are set to hold the Ulchi Taegeuk exercise, an annual government-military-civilian defense drill from May 27 to 30.