Although not widely publicized, it is very common for countries to keep an eye on each other’s activities. The United States is no exception, and one of their most sophisticated spy planes is the EP-3E ARIES II (Airborne Reconnaissance Integrated Electronic System II). Most of the plane’s information is classified, but there is some information available to the public.
Officials have likened the EP-3E to a vacuum because it sucks up all kinds of information. The plane can target a specific geographic area and capture communications of all kinds, including telephone calls, emails, ship-to-shore communication, faxes, and satellite transmissions. Once the information is gathered, it is processed and sent back to military commanders.
Sensors, receivers, and dish antennas are used to capture electronic signals. The EP-3E is equipped with four turboprop engines to give the plane a cruising speed of 345 mph. It has five fuel tanks to allow for long flights.
This spy plane typically has a crew of 24. Included are three pilots, one navigator, three tactical evaluators, one flight engineer, and numerous equipment operations, technicians, and mechanics. Together they maintain the plane and its equipment in order to fulfill the information-gathering mission.
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