Air Force aircraft that detect radioactive fallout and track ballistic missiles are operating on Okinawa in the wake of North Korea’s sixth nuclear test and ahead of an anticipated intercontinental ballistic missile launch. A WC-135 Constant Phoenix — commonly referred to as a nuke-sniffer — arrived at Kadena Air Base Sept. 5, said Satoru Kuba, an Okinawan who monitors military aircraft. The Constant Phoenix,

which specializes in identifying radioactive debris after the detonation of a nuclear device, departed the next day with a tanker aircraft, Kuba said, and has been parked at Kadena ever since returning. North Korea tested its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon on Sept. 3. The test was conducted on the heels of two groundbreaking ICBM launches in July that pushed the country closer to its stated goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that can reach the U.S. mainland. READ MORE