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EP-3E Aries II

The Lockheed EP-3E Aries II is a turboprop-based signals reconnaissance aircraft, operated by the United States Navy. It is based on a Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe, which is in turn based on the Lockheed L-188 Electra passenger airliner. There are 11 EP-3Es in the Navy's inventory, the last of which was delivered in 1997. A total of 12 P-3C aircraft were converted to replace older versions of the aircraft, which had been converted in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

On April 1, 2001, an EP-3E was intercepted by Chinese F-8 fighter jets about 70 miles off the Chinese island of Hainan. The Chinese later claimed that this plane was spying Chinese military facilities. One of the Chinese jets bumped the wing of the EP-3E, which was forced to make an emergency landing in China. The Chinese pilot, Wang Wei, was missing and presumed dead following the incident.

The crew of 24 was detained and released April 11. The plane was airlifted to Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia on July 3, 2001.

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