On Friday, the second day of China's live-fire drills launched around Taiwan, seven US reconnaissance planes, including a U-2, and six tankers were detected flying in the vicinity of Taiwan.
Beijing-based think-tank, the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), tweeted that one US Air Force (USAF) Boeing RC-135S Cobra Ball measurement and signature intelligence aircraft, one USAF RC-135V Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft, three US Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, one USAF Boeing E-3G Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one Lockheed U-2S high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, were in flight near Taiwan, reports Taiwan News.
The Chinese think-tank also reported the presence of six Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. On the SCSPI's map, the reconnaissance aircraft could be seen in the north, northeast, east, southeast, and south of Taiwan at varying distances and headings.
The flights took place as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) conducted a second day of massive live-fire exercises in six zones surrounding Taiwan. The think-tank described the aircraft's presence as strengthening US military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations around Taiwan.