Constant Phoenix to Sniff Out Nuke Claims

The Air Force is sending a WC-135 Constant Phoenix to sniff out North Korea’s claim that it successfully conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, the Pentagon said Friday. The aircraft will fly in the region and collect atmospheric samples to test for radiation particles to confirm if a nuclear device was detonated, though the Defense Department on Friday would not provide a timeline for the operations and when any tests would be confirmed. Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said during a Friday briefing that the reported tests shows the importance of establishing ballistic missile defense in the region, including deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system to the Korean peninsula. The US and South Korea earlier this year agreed to deploy the system by the end of next year and there have been no discussions to move the date closer, Davis said. “North Korea has been our best spokesperson for why we need THAAD in the Republic of Korea,” Davis said.