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SOURCE:  RAVI PAI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

United States Airforce dispatched RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft, hours after India tested its first ASAT Anti-Satellite missile yesterday.RC-135S is the go-to aircraft of the US Administration deployed to collect optical and electronic data on ballistic targets. RC-135S was dispatched from US military facility in Diego Garcia Islands in the central Indian Ocean at 23.30 hours for an undisclosed mission in the Bay of Bengal, supported by a USAF KC-135R aerial tanker which after mid-air refueling returned to Diego Garcia.

RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated array of optical and electronic sensors which are largely used to collect data which is critical to arms treaty compliance verification, and development of U.S. strategic defense and theater missile defense concepts.

55 years old, Ageing RC-135S are sparsely used to monitor missile tests by North Korean and Iran regime in the region. Down to just three aircraft in USAF inventory, sending them to the Bay of Bengal right after India’s ASAT Anti-Satellite missile demonstration seems to have caught Uncle Sam off guard, since most of the time RC-135S are in place to monitor and collect flight, trajectory, speed and other data of the hostile missile just before it is launched.

What Cobra Ball collects directly goes to NSA and Defense Secretary of the United States to provide them immediate Intel that allows high-level decision-makers to make decisions. At the time of writing this report, US Administration has not officially commented on India’s ASAT Anti-Satellite missile Test but by sending in RC-135S Cobra Ball hours after the test shows that US Administration has started their own investigation into it and will monitor space debris and will collect other electronic evidence before commenting on the test.

 

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