US surveillance plane flies south of Taiwan

EP-3E mission amounts to 13th US flight in area in April

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/04/30
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

An EP-3E surveillance aircraft (Wikicommons photo by J.G. Handelman) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A United States military reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Bashi Channel separating south Taiwan from the Philippines Thursday (April 30) in the 13th such appearance this month.

The flights have been seen as a response to continuous missions by Chinese jets and warships near Taiwan despite the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Thursday’s flight was carried out by an EP-3E Aries II signals intelligence aircraft and was monitored by the Ministry of National Defense, the Liberty Times reported. According to Aircraft Spots, a website that tracks military air movements, the American jet first appeared over the Bashi Channel before turning north and flying back and forth several times off Taiwan’s southwest coast.

Boeing’s EP-3E will reportedly be retired in 2025 and could eventually be replaced by unmanned aircraft and helicopters, according to media reports. In 2001, a similar surveillance aircraft collided with a Chinese jet and conducted an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan. The crew was accused of killing the Chinese pilot but was later allowed to leave.    [FULL  STORY]

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