The US Air Force has launched a 'radiation-detecting' jet over the UK this morning amid growing nuclear tensions surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The WC-135W Constant Phoenix 'nuke sniffer', previously used after the world's biggest nuclear disasters, touched down at the RAF station in Suffolk two weeks ago after completing a mission over the Baltic Sea.

It left RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk at around 11.40am before passing over Scotland as it head towards the North Sea shortly after noon.

The special purpose aircraft is designed to collect atmospheric samples to detect and identify nuclear explosions.

According to aviation Twitter account Plane Finder, "This aircraft acts as a 'sniffer' for atmospheric material.

"It has highly sensitive equipment that can detect changes to levels of radiation."

It has been reported that the plane, which has been patrolling as far as the Belarusian border, is the same type which was deployed following the Chernobyl disaster and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant explosion.


Tensions have been rising over nuclear posturing as Russia continues its attack on Ukraine.

At the end of February, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military to put the country's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in a dramatic escalation of tensions with the West over its war in Ukraine.