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"Spy" Plane?  
User currently offlineBraniff747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 107 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1504 times:

The Navy EP-3 being held by the Chinese is consistently referred to as a "Spy" plane.

Isn't this really a "surveillance" plane? I have always thought of a true spy plane as one designed to intentionally invade hostile airspace and avoid defenses, ala the U-2 and SR-71/A-12. How could a lumbering 4-engine turboprop be considered a spy plane?

Are the RC-135s flying out of Kadena "spy" planes too?

I don't think so.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineGunfighter 6 From Netherlands, joined Jan 2001, 404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (15 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

What is the defination of surveilance ??
that is i think the question.

probably for the americans a flight in a U2 plane over russia is just plain surveilance, however the russians see it as spying.

i think in the eye of the chineese it is definately a spy plane. and i can't say i blame em.

User currently offlineBraniff747 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (15 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1403 times:

For simplicity:

Surveillance = the aircraft is operating legally in international airspace.

Spying = the aircraft is operating illegally within another country's sovereign airspace.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30408 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (15 years 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1400 times:

So Based on Braniff747's explaination....the P-3 was still only a surveilence aircraft.

But spy sounds better for the news casters. Helps them create a better story then one exists.

User currently offlineN139j From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 380 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (15 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1385 times:

Of course! Newscasters love the coverage!

User currently offlineBombstar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (15 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1380 times:

The EP-3 is used on recon flights, and has advanced electonic equiptment that listens to wireless communications and other things. I think most people mistake the EP-3 as an AWACS type plane, but with that type of equiptment on board, i would call it spying.

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1376 times:

I would say it becomes a spy plane when the data/information being gathered is not freely broadcasted, secret, or restricted in some way (hidden, encrypted, etc.) Such an example would be taking a picture of an airfield. This would be surveillance, yet trying to take pictures of secret activities going on at this airfield would be spying. This works out with the legal/illegal flying...if they must illegally fly in airspace, then they are being restricted from information and therefore spying and not just gathering information.

My 2 cents...

User currently offlineChdmcmanus From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 374 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (15 years 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 1372 times:

Spying generally refers to illegal or covert collection of data. The EP-3 simply monitors, openly I might add, the transmissions of its intended subject. It doesn't reach in and steal anything, it merely collects what is already there. Are the people who listen to ATC on a scanner spies?

If you don't want someone to see in your house, you close the curtains. A spy is one who tries to get inside the house. Surveillance is watching the curtains to see the shadows.

On the other side of the coin, I also see where Gunfighter6 is coming from, in that the perception of the incident comes from which side of the wall you are on.

"Never trust a clean Crew Chief"
User currently offlinePlaneshot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (15 years 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1348 times:

Have to agree with the media angle...makes more people pay attention when the term 'spy plane' is used, although the EP-3 is merely a sponge, soaking up the EM band for any interesting data....a lot like the term 'stealth fighter' as applied to the F-117A. Those of us in the know about that plane refer to it correctly as a 'stealth strike aircraft' as it has no gun or missiles in which to go on the offensive or to even defend itself were it to be jumped by hostile forces....

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