In September, there was an increase in refueling activity for boats at the U.S. Air Force Base in Guam, which were used to supplement tanks for surveillance aircraft. The majority of the planes appear to fly over the South China Sea – although 13 fly over the Yellow Sea and around six fly over the East China Sea.
The think tank said the activity was “unusual” given that the supply vehicles had been dispatched from Guam air base.
It would have been more economical for them to have taken off from the US air base at Kadena, located in neighboring Japan.
He added: “Such operations are more likely to prepare for future long-distance refueling under extreme conditions, and therefore deserve close attention.”
The SCSPI said the activity showed the South China Sea to be the United States’ “primary target”.
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In one case, an American plane would have changed its code so that it appeared to be a Philippine plane before changing again afterwards.
Another time, an RC-135S spy plane pretended to be a Malaysian plane while on a mission near Chinese airspace, the think tank said.
In some cases, American planes have not turned on their radio transponders at all.
The SCSPI claimed to have confirmed the use of fake electronic identification codes by US military planes last month.
The think tank said the move would be of “great practical value” to the US military, as reconnaissance planes often look like civilian planes anyway.
However, he added: “This behavior undoubtedly adds significant risks and unstable factors to global aviation safety, which will lead to errors in judgment and be likely to endanger real civilian passenger aircraft, especially those. countries that pretend to be them. “
On September 1, 1983, 269 civilian passengers and crew members of a Korean airliner were killed after being shot down by a Soviet Union Sukhoi SU-15 fighter jet.
The Boeing 747 passenger plane was flying over the Soviet island of Sakhalin at the time, but was mistaken for an American RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, the SCSPI said.
The South China Sea has been a topic of tension between the United States and China throughout the year.
In addition to the two countries conducting military exercises in the region, the United States has had official engagements with nearby Taiwan, which angered Beijing.