US sends new reconnaissance planes to Japan amid tension
The US has announced to have deployed two of its next-generation reconnaissance aircraft to Japan amid increased tension in the region after China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone over a disputed area in the East China Sea.
The move comes days after US flew two B-52 bombers over the disputed region.
Though, the US Navy insisted that the deployment was planned long ago, and has nothing to do with the ongoing controversy over the Chinese air defenses.
"The Navy's newest, most advanced maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, arrived in Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan for its inaugural deployment December 1," the US Navy said.
The War Eagles of Patrol Squadron 16 (VP 16) deployed with six P-8As Poseidons in support of 7th Fleet maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, it said, adding that the deployment marks a milestone in the transition of US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces (MPRF).
For the first time since the Navy received the P-3A Orion in 1962 a new aircraft will be operated by a deployed patrol squadron, it said.
The P-8A Poseidon is the most advanced, long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.
The Poseidon is built on the Boeing 737 airframe, the most commercially operated aircraft in the world. The transition to the Poseidon brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance, the Navy said.