It's not a classified secret that military planes fly over Missouri and Illinois practically every single day and it doesn't mean anything. But, this week, a military 'nuke sniffer' was spotted on radar constantly circling the area near St. Louis, Missouri. Why?

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If you've never heard of the WC-135R, it's a radiation detection plane the US Air Force uses to monitor activities across the country and abroad. There are reports that it was deployed over Chernobyl when it melted down many years ago.

The code name for one of the Constant Phoenix 'nuke sniffing' planes is Cobra31 and it's publicly viewable on Flight Aware. This is the flight path that this Air Force plane took Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

Infographic, Flight Aware
Infographic, Flight Aware
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Notice that there was a concentrated path just east of St. Louis. Let's zoom in.

Infographic, Flight Aware
Infographic, Flight Aware
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Look even closer and you'll see this plane made circles around a relatively small part of east St. Louis. Why?

Infographic, Flight Aware
Infographic, Flight Aware
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Let's not jump to the conclusion that there was something they were specifically looking for. Only Tom Clancy would write a story about the US looking for a dirty bomb or something near a major American metro area, right?

It is an unusual focus on what is really a part of the St. Louis area where it's too terrifying to drive most of the time. Nothing to see here. Move along. This is all probably just a routine circling of the St. Louis area and not a worst-case scenario. Maybe.

I only ask the question because I obviously have no idea if this strange flight pattern of a US military plane specializing in detecting radiation over a city like St. Louis is normal or something else entirely. Let's hope it's that first one and not a real life version of "Sum of All Fears".

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Gallery Credit: 20th Century Castles/Missile Bases.com

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