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US expands aerial reconnaissance along the inter-Korean border

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World Defense & Security News - United States
 
 
US expands aerial reconnaissance along the inter-Korean border
 
The United States' forces stationed in South Korea have expanded their aerial reconnaissance along the inter-Korean border following North Korea's recent launch of Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM), official sources said Monday, June 27th.
     
US expands aerial reconnaissance along the inter Korean border 640 001Airmen assigned to the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron perform last-minute checks on a U-2 Dragon Lady before it takes off Oct. 23, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea
(Credit: USAF/Staff Sgt. Benjamin Sutton)
     
On June 22, North Korea fired two Musudan missiles from its eastern coastal city of Wonsan. The first missile reportedly blew up shortly after launch, but the second one soared to an altitude of some 1,400 kilometers before flying 400 km and hitting the East Sea. Pyongyang has declared the second launch a success, and with a range of 3,000 to 4,000 km, the IRBM could reach as far as the U.S. territory of Guam.

Since the latest launch, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) had been sending two U-2S ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft to conduct daily surveillance missions along the inter-Korean military demarcation line, USFK officials said.

Before the launch, only one U-2S was sent into the air to conduct reconnaissance.

The reconnaissance aircraft, nicknamed Dragon Lady, monitors, videotapes and sometimes wiretaps North Korea's military activities from an altitude of some 20 km on a flight mission that could last up to eight hours. The U-2S can see 60-70 km inside North Korea while still flying outside the country's airspace.

The planes can help the military leadership get a glimpse into North Korea and allow them to pick up signs of possible North Korean military provocations.

(Source: Yonhap)