USAF sends RC-135S Cobra Ball to Okinawa for fear of N. Korean renewed missile testing

A U.S. reconnaissance aircraft that specializes in surveilling and collecting data on ballistic missiles has arrived on Okinawa amid fears that North Korea may be planning to resume test launches.

An Air Force RC-135S Cobra Ball landed at Kadena Air Base on Saturday evening.

North Korea has rebuilt a launch site at Sohae that it had partially dismantled as part of disarmament steps last year, according to recent satellite images. However, the Cobra Ball’s deployment could also be related to flooding at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where the Air Force’s three Cobra Ball aircraft are permanently based.

All Cobra Balls are operated by the Air Force’s 55th Wing and manned by crews from the 45th Reconnaissance and 97th Intelligence squadrons, according to an Air Force website.

According to local media the aircraft stopped in Europe, the Middle East, Diego Garcia and Indonesia before arriving in Japan.The rest of the 55th Wing deployed to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.