The American “nuclear sniper” plane has arrived in the UK

The US WC-135W aircraft designed to ‘sniff out’ radiation associated with the use of nuclear weapons has arrived in the UK.

WC-135 ‘Constant Phoenix’ landed at RAF Mildenhall this morning and was a rare visitor to the UK.

Previously, air sample surveys were regularly carried out in the Far East, the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal, the Mediterranean, the polar regions and along the coasts of South America and Africa. The plane does not usually stay long in an area before returning to the United States. As mentioned above, this is a rare deployment and this aircraft type visited the UK in August last year.

More importantly, in 2017 an aircraft was sent to the RAF site at Miltonhall to carry out missions in Europe after air quality monitoring stations across the continent detected traces of iodine. radioactive 131.

Historically, the WC-135W fleet played a key role in monitoring radioactive debris from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in the Soviet Union.

The WC-135 ‘Constant Phoenix’ is a US Air Force special purpose aircraft derived from a Boeing C-135 stratolifter (as well as the RC-135 ‘Rivet Joint’ signals intelligence aircraft).

According to the US Air Force, its mission is to collect atmospheric samples for the purpose of detecting and identifying nuclear explosions.

“Constant Phoenix” has a collection of atmosphere collections that allow mission crews to detect radioactive “clouds” in real time. The aircraft filter is equipped with a compressor system for external flow devices to collect particles on the paper and bulk air samples collected in the retention spheres.

British Defense Journal

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