U.S. Air Force sent RC-135S Cobra Ball reconnaissance and ballistic missile detection aircraft to the Persian Gulf
The Cobra Ball’s sent to the Persian Gulf comes after increasing tensions between the US and Iran have worsened since Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and several world powers, and reinstated sanctions on Tehran.
Last month, in response to what American officials characterized as an imminent threat, the US announced it would rush an aircraft carrier and other assets to the region.
Aviation enthusiast, Maleshov surprised many by released on Twitter the track of RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft over the Persian Gulf.
”USAF RC-135S Cobra Ball a measurement and signature intelligence MASINT collector equipped with special electro-optical instruments designed to observe ballistic missile flights at long range 61-2662 PYTHN77 over Persian gulf,” he tweet said.
USAF RC-135S Cobra Ball a measurement and signature intelligence MASINT collector equipped with special electro-optical instruments designed to observe ballistic missile flights at long range 61-2662 PYTHN77 over Persian gulf pic.twitter.com/r5T3RWfThk
— Maleshov (@maleshov) July 8, 2019
The RC-135S Cobra Ball is a rapidly deployable aircraft, which flies Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed missions of national priority to collect optical and electronic data on ballistic targets. According to the U.S. Air Force’s website said this data is critical to arms treaty compliance verification, and development of U.S. strategic defense and theater missile defense concepts.
Crew composition includes a minimum of two pilots, one navigator, three electronic warfare officers, two airborne systems engineers, and two or more airborne mission specialists.
All Cobra Ball airframe and mission systems modifications are overseen by L-3 Communications, under the oversight of Air Force Materiel Command.
There are three RC-135S aircraft in the Air Force inventory all assigned to Air Combat Command and permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.. The Cobra Ball is operated by the 55th Wing, and manned with aircrews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron, and the 97th Intelligence Squadron, using various forward deployment locations worldwide