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5 US spy planes fly south of Taiwan ahead of admiral's visit

7 US military aircraft spotted flying along southern edge of Taiwan's ADIZ

(Twitter, SCS Probing Initiative image)

(Twitter, SCS Probing Initiative image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Prior to the unannounced arrival of a U.S. Navy (USN) admiral on Sunday (Nov. 22), seven U.S. military aircraft were spotted flying just south of Taiwan.

On Sunday evening, a C-37A Gulfstream V was spotted landing at Taiwan's Songshan Airport, reportedly carrying Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, who oversees regional military intelligence for the U.S. military’s Indo-Pacific Command. Prior to his arrival, five reconnaissance aircraft and two tankers were detected by aircraft spotters flying south of Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

The Beijing-based South China Sea (SCS) Probing Initiative at 10:59 p.m. on Sunday posted a tweet claiming that prior to Studeman's arrival, five U.S. reconnaissance aircraft including one U.S. Air Force (USAF) Boeing RC-135, two USN Boeing P-8 Poseidons, one Northrup Grumman MQ-4C Triton, and one Bombardier Challenger 604, along with two aerial tankers flew just to the south of Taiwan.

On the map, the flight paths of the aircraft can be seen positioned in the far northern edge of the South China Sea and the southern boundary of Taiwan's ADIZ.

On Monday (Nov. 23) morning, aircraft spotter CANUK78 reported the presence of a Lockheed EP-3 signals reconnaissance aircraft and Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker just to the south of Taiwan. The Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Pentagon declined to comment on Studeman's visit, while Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has acknowledged the presence of a U.S. official in Taiwan, but did not provide any details, only stating the itinerary will not be made public.