The U.S. Navy reportedly launched a plane near the North Korea coast to spy and inspect signals of a possible submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), as reported by Channel A, a South Korean broadcasting company, Tuesday.

According to a report by Asia Times who quoted the report from Channel A, stated that the launching of the spy plane was a result of North Korea increasing their efforts in developing an SLBM fleet. The report also stated that South Korea are discussing to construct nuclear-powered hunter-killer submarines with the cooperation of U.S. in a bid to counter the threat from Pyongyang.

The report went on to say that, the reconnaissance aircraft which is named U.S. EP-3, was stationed in Japan. The aircraft recently went near the eastern coast of North Korea to check for signals of an impending missile launch from a North Korean submarine.

With regards to the above, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency, the Pentagon stated, Monday, that the U.S. was “well-postured” to confront a possible SLBM attack by North Korea.

Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Robert Manning reportedly said, “I can't comment on any matters of specific intelligence regarding North Korea .”

He added, “But I will tell you that within the deep arsenal that we have of capabilities, we're well postured to deal with that. ”

Manning then went on to add, “We watch them closely.”

He continued. “We'll remain vigilant along with our partners from the Republic of Korea and Japan, our alliance partners there, to make sure that we can counter any North Korean threat."

The U.S., Japan and South Korea, Monday, started the testing of ballistic missile defense exercises, as stated by Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force. The exercise is a result of North Korea’s launch of a Hwasong-15 intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) in November which was the largest tested missile to date.

With regards to the above, according to the Yonhap News Agency report, Manning said that it was a routine operation focused on the improvement of interoperability.

He then said, “The intent of it is to ensure we maintain those readiness requirements to deal with any North Korean threat and making sure, in essence, that we can communicate and employ the necessary capabilities to counter any North Korean threat.”

The report also mentioned an article by a Japanese newspaper which reported last week that North Korea was finished with developing five prototypes for an upgraded version of the SLBM and that the testing of a new missile can be expected soon.

According to a report by The New York Times, U.S., Japan, and South Korea are reportedly collaborating on a drill to identify SLBM missiles which are difficult to track, as stated by military officials, Monday. 

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the drill will be taking place over two days in the waters which lie between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Destroyers from the three involved countries will be undergoing computer-simulated training to track the SLBM which are developed by North Korea.