A British RC-135 ‘Rivet Joint’ intelligence gathering aircraft has once again deployed to Crimea to keep an eye on Russian forces near the border with Ukraine.

This is a regular occurrence, we believe it should be reported as and when it happens to ensure people don’t see this as anything unusual. It should also be noted that these flights are designed to be visible so that the public and Russia know they’re happening.

Earlier, we reported that there has been an increase in the frequency of British RC-135 aircraft being deployed to the Black Sea region near Ukraine’s border with Russia.

Increased presence of British surveillance aircraft near Ukraine

British surveillance aircraft being over the Black Sea near Crimea isn’t unusual but we are seeing a significant increase in the frequency of the flights over the last few weeks. American assets are also present.

What does the RC-135W do?

According to the Royal Air Force website, the RC-135W Rivet Joint is a dedicated electronic surveillance aircraft that can be employed in all theatres on strategic and tactical missions. Its sensors ‘soak up’ electronic emissions from communications, radar and other systems.

“RC-135W Rivet Joint employs multidiscipline Weapons System Officer (WSO) and Weapons System Operator (WSOp) specialists whose mission is to survey elements of the electromagnetic spectrum in order to derive intelligence for commanders.”

The Royal Air Force say that Rivet Joint has been deployed extensively for Operation Shader and on other operational taskings. It had been formally named Airseeker, but is almost universally known in service as the RC-135W Rivet Joint.

The UK operates three of these aircraft.

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Mark
Mark
5 days ago

Didn’t realize just how many crew the 135 has. Do they have a designated cabin crew to assist the analysts and pilots on long sorties? Or is it just every man for themselves? You’d hate to miss that all important interception when just nipping for a coffee bite to eat. I be seen they have a galley toilets and bunks or do they double man?

Last edited 5 days ago by Mark
Mark B
Mark B
5 days ago

River joint seems to fly over many european countries to get on station. It would be interesting to know which other countries have this type of capacity and if they are helping in this effort?

Steve M
Steve M
5 days ago

What i don’t get is they based them out of Akt for Shader why not do same, would either save airframe flights hours or have more time on station?

Donaldson
Donaldson
4 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

A month back one was deploying out of Souda Air Base, The Americans also deploy from there occasionally.

chris stocken
chris stocken
5 days ago

If the UK isn’t going to help Ukraine with ground/air force’s what is the point?.

dave12
dave12
5 days ago
Reply to  chris stocken

We give the Ukraine intel , weapons , that’s all that’s needed and just sit back and watch Putin get bogged down in a war with a population that is hostile to Russia.

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  dave12

You are going to be very disappointed Dave, Russia is not going to invade all Ukraine

dave12
dave12
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

So are you suggesting that another bite out of Ukraine sovereignty is coming but not all of the Ukraine will be taken ? who’s your high end source ?lol

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  dave12

He has a mate who cleans the stripper pole at Putins mansion on the black sea. But keep it to yourself.🕵

dave12
dave12
5 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

lol Ulya a she.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  dave12

😯

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Translates to Julia if easier for you David

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

My Russian isn’t what it used to be. lol

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

😃

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  dave12

My source is the same as yours Dave, nothing but speculation, but taking all Ukraine is pointless, as you say it will be hostile population in much of it and Putin would not get domestic support for it and be a massive financial burden, but supporting Donbass republics more openly is most likely, maybe moving west a little more but not much, NATOs own rules already exclude Ukraine joining. If countries like Poland, UK etc try and force Ukrainian entry and break NATO rules it will be interesting to see how France, Germany etc accept that. I assume then both… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

It is Gazprom that is restricting gas supplies to the rest of Europe all because Putin is sulking about the new gas pipeline to Germany is not approved.

Last edited 5 days ago by Meirion x
JohninMK
JohninMK
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I can’t find any evidence that Gazprom is not supplying gas that has been contracted for. On the contrary it is the Euopeans that are not ordering gas due to the high price on the spot market. Unfortunately the EU took a decision to ‘encourage’ EU countries to abandon their long term contracts and go spot back in 2014. Worked OK until last year when there was a bad winter and the operators in the gas futures market saw an opportunity for big profits and cranked the prices up. Alone, Hungary saw the writing on the wall and last September… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

In the “Gas Wars’ of 2000’s Russia regularly cut gas supply to both Belarus and Ukraine which resulted in gas supplies to Central Europe being interrupted with being under contract.
So good luck to Hungary with that new contract!

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I’d like some links on that. The accepted history seem to be that the gas supply was only interrupted when the Ukrainians broke the contract and stole too much or didn’t pay for what they had taken legally. The Russians did it to force their European customers to put pressure on Ukraine. I had not heard of the Belarus pipeline being interrupted but if it was I assume it was for the same reason. The Russians are proud of their continuing to supply to contract all through the Cold War. Hungary will be getting their gas through Turksteam so there… Read more »

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

All contracts are being honoured but if you can prove otherwise I will be interested. Europe main problem with gas price is buying on spot market instead of contract and no forward planning. Who is hurting more by NS2 not being in operation?

Last edited 5 days ago by Ulya
Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

See my comment above on gas cut off’s by Russia. So it is an untrustworthy supplier of gas.

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

It maybe Hungary that’s holding up Ukraine’s entry into NATO, there’s a election coming up in the Spring there Ulya.

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Correct me if I am wrong but NATO cannot accept new member with on going border dispute and all NATO members must agree. NATO might try to speak with one voice but individual governments will decide. Part of Putin’s idea I think is getting agreement for what happens once peace deal can be found between Kiev and Donbas but if no agreement for Russia then no peace in Donbas, keep the war going at low level, increase it if necessary

JohninMK
JohninMK
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Good to get a Russian viewpoint. The Russian military seems to now have sufficient ‘stuff’ in place to rapidly counter any strike into Donbas, which is, they have said, the only reason to attack Ukraine.   Whilst they will probably turn most of Ukraine’s military infrastructure to rubble across the whole country I suspect that they will want to make a point to NATO about what they are facing, so it will be by missiles not boots on the ground. The militia in the Donbas, by all accounts, looks pretty capable so with the help of Russian artillery they can… Read more »

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

You are correct I think, no boots on the ground, although Putin is still very popular president many Russian do not support some of his overseas involvment that is why company like wagner is useful. Syria we understand and he has kept that limited, Libya I don’t know why we involved, supporting Donbas yes, attacking all Ukraine and there would be protests in Moscow, he must keep Russia body count low for domestic support to remain dispute the usual western view Russia is dictatorship, Putin still has to answer at the polls, last election United Russia lost seats in duma.… Read more »

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Libya is easy. Russia was double crossed in the UNSC where the move on Libya was proposed as a human rights etc issue but once approved turned into a full bloodied assault and regime change job. That was never forgiven so now official Russia is there, albeit very much in the background, whilst Wagner carries the flag.

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

So what part of Ukraine is Putin going to invade then?

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

You tell me Merion, it is the west that claims we are about to invade, I think we have already passed 2 dates that I saw in your media

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Ulya Are not all those 90k squaddies holed up near Ukraine not complaining about not being home for Xmas and New Year’s celebrations, and also wondering what are they doing there?

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I am not, currently I am in far north, but I have brother and nephew there. As far as I know they are aware of why they are there, on Russian territory. If Russia is expected to be happy about NATO being on our borders, why the concern about us being in the border region?

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

I think the same would apply if the US deployed 90k troops in the Baltics. A lot questions would be asked what they are doing there, and when they be moved across the border.

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

You do not see the difference between Russia troops in Russia territory and American troops on Russian border?

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Would you be asking the same questions if China concatenated 500k troops on Russian For East border, what are all those troops doing near the same area?

Ulya
Ulya
4 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Good morning, you increase numbers from 90,000 to 500,000 for dramatic effect? If 90,000 Chinese troops in border region in Chinese territory then no issue, if increased to 500,000 then yes concern, but numbers alone is narrow view, it would depend of what the political situation is between Russia/China. Right now our relationship is friendly. Russian and western relationship is hostile and 90,000 US troops in Baltics is very different to 90,000 from the 3 states in their own territory

Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

UIya, I increased the figure due to the PRC ground forces about 4X Russia GF, I may be wrong? Yes 90k GF on PRC boarder is no issue, but 300k or 400k or more would be a issue I think.
Why cannot Russia decrease GF’s near Ukraine to average concentration across Russia?

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

My guess is the Russians are not moving so that they maintain the pressure on Ukraine not to do something stupid. Lavrov yesterday said that it was costing a lot of money to have them out in the open rather than in their barracks. Apparently on Monday the US even told them which routes they should send them home on, which didn’t go down well. Incidentally, Lavrov talked for an hour on what went on, they are being very open on the discussions.

Meirion x
Meirion x
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Would you be asking the same questions if China concatenated 500k troops on Russian Far East border, what are all those troops doing there near the same area?
And China saying the same they are on Chinese territory?
Maybe the Chinese might just do this one day, on Russia’s boarder.

Last edited 5 days ago by Meirion x
Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Chinese territory question, I rubbed most of the repeat out. Also a spelling error, ‘concentrated’.

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

My apologies, this question had disappeared for a while, I mistakenly resubmitted it, sorry! Ho dear twice now again!

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
dave12
dave12
5 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

I just think the gas card is all Putin has got .

Ulya
Ulya
5 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Economically gas is the most important Dave, military there are some simple things Russia can do very easily, one being converting Iskandar brigades to nuclear warheads, we already have the missiles and warheads in storage. Nuclear option is the corner stone of our defence, like I have said before, we cannot compete in population or money spent against NATO and going back to spending 40% of GDP like soviet days is just silly, so we must use nuclear, having several hundred short range nukes on our border will ruin west security, but having NATO on our border ruins ours. It… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

A bigger prize than Ukraine joining NATO, would be Finland joining! F-35’s based in Finland could destroy the Russian Northern Fleet in a short time.

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

The Finnish PM said on Thursday that they would not, followed by the Swedes yesterday. Life is so much better being neutral as the Finns noticed watching Sweden prosper in WW2.

Ulya
Ulya
2 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Sorry for slow reply, have been away from internet connection. We have learned much about F35 operation in Syria, There is a reason why they send S400 radar there, if we learn enough to make a difference is open to speculation

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
4 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Malware! You forgot malware! And trolls!

dave12
dave12
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

True , and world of tanks.

Ulya
Ulya
4 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

Malware, from what I read both sides play this game. Trolls, from just what I have seen on this site a troll is anyone who has an opinion different from yours and it is easier to try and shut conversation down with troll comment than counter their view with intelligence

Tams
Tams
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

Damn, the Russian state propaganda has gotten you good. NATO has absolutely zero interest in invading Russia. They are however interested in helping ensure the independence of countries neighbouring Russia, partly because it reassures members that Russia won’t risk invading. Russia complain about NATO activity near their borders, but that activity is solely because Russia has shown herself to be completely untrustworthy and potentially a threat. Move your forces back to their bases and watch NATO ease off in response. I’m not sure if having you here is good or bad. On one hand you’re spreading FUD and propaganda, but… Read more »

Ulya
Ulya
4 days ago
Reply to  Tams

Hello Tam, Why is my opinion state propaganda and your isn’t? You don’t think Russian is capable of research and seeing situation and make up their own mind? You believe the west is keeper of truth? You are correct, NATO has no interest in invading Russia, NATO is also incapable of doing it without destroying itself in the process. I have never seen Russian article suggesting the west would invade but please correct me if wrong. What Russia is wanting is national security, the same security you want. To Russian NATO had no purpose once Warsaw pact and CCCP finished,… Read more »

Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

“Facts, NATO moved to our border, not us move to you…”
Fact Wrong! Former states of USSR and Warpac moved to NATO by choice, by being invited, Not forced to join, like the USSR. The Baltic States were independent before 1940, as were Warpac countries before WW2.
If former Warpac countries were given independence post WW2 and had relations with the USSR, they wouldn’t needed to join NATO?
Russia would get it’s national security, if only it would cooperative with it’s neighbours, including NATO. Turkey was a neighbour of the USSR for decades, so why more problem now Ulay?

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

As we now know for certain from several, including declassified, sources the Russians were told on several occasions at the highest level that NATO would not expand to the east of Germany. That they accepted, in the face of a weak at the time Russia, rather than reject the requests, broke those promises. Russia has now regained its strength as is putting its foot down.

Ulya
Ulya
2 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I don’t dispute reason for ex Warsaw pact countries for joining NATO, but does not change the fact NATO is on our border. I notice you didn’t argue my other points. I am also not going to try to justify Stalin decision to hold on to those countries, he was a pig. From my perspective Soviet should of pulled out of those countries after the war but Stalin died 40 before I was born so my opinion was not asked. As for cooperation with NATO, this is a 2 way street, talk to us with respect and we will do… Read more »

JohninMK
JohninMK
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

All we know is that the Russians have said they will only react if the Ukrainians attack into the Donbas. The have not said how they would do that so all is speculation.

dave12
dave12
5 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

What Russia says and does is a totally different thing Ivan as its past actions have proven under Putin , Salisbury excuse two GRU agents were Russian fitness trainers on holiday visiting the cathedral lol!!!

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Our Government seems very reluctant to have that tested in a Court, even the Coroners Court. I wonder why?

dave12
dave12
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Ivan , any body who is a UK national and has all his marbles knows it was the GRU because two GRU agents who have been identified , going to visit Salisbury (a real hotspot for Russian tourist mind lol) seen on CCTV 5min walk away from a ex KGB agents house which just happens to have a Russian made nerve agent on the skirpals door handle ,its pretty obvious and that’s just lightly touching the evidence, as for court hearing Russia will not send the GRU agents for judgement, so you seem to have a unhealthy bias to a… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by dave12
JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  dave12

God bless you Dave for believing our totally honest Government.

Meirion x
Meirion x
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Salisbury poisonings took place under a different leadership! The overall system of government in the UK, is much more than the leadership in 10 Dowding Street.

Last edited 4 days ago by Meirion x
dave12
dave12
3 days ago
Reply to  Meirion x

I think you are wasting your time with Ivan , johninmk what ever he is , its seem hes couple sails short of the wind lol

Meirion x
Meirion x
3 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Maybe so, it seems!

dave12
dave12
3 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Sorry Ivan but you have no real comeback I see ,sounds like you need god more.

Frank62
Frank62
4 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

BBC says a false-flag attack on Rusian forces or ethnic Russians is likely to be employed give Russia the pretext to mount an invasion. Both Japan in Manchuria & Nazi Germany in Poland did the same.

I’d like to see a NATO battlegroup being prepared to be deployed if Russia invades Ukraine, both as a deterrent & counter if Russia attacks.

PRC could be waiting for NATO to get quagmired in Ukraine before attempting to invade Taiwan.

We urgently need to get our act together in our military before the general public wake up to how weak we are.

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

The BBC being a paragon of truth and accuracy!
 
I kinda doubt, given their own capabilities, that the Russians would regard a NATO battle group with much trepidation.
 
Why would China care if NATO was bogged down in Ukraine? Particularly as the US has already made it clear that they aren’t going in to help.
 
Does the general public care about the state of our military? If it was an app on their phone then they might.

Edit spelling mistake corrected

Last edited 4 days ago by JohninMK
Frank62
Frank62
3 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Not a huge fan of the BBC, their standards have dropped apallingly over the last 30+ years, but my taxes pay for them weather I like what they do or not. The West needs to do the necessary to effectively deter rather than being all talk, especially after devalueing it’s word by allowing the Syrian Kurds to be attacked by Turkey & abandoning Afghanistan. Hence having a battle group ready for deployment if/when Russia invades Ukraine, again, would I think focus Putin’s mind more than more sanctions. As with Taiwan, we need to get off the fence or surrender to… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Frank62
JohninMK
JohninMK
3 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Ignoring the issue that we would effectively be declaring war on Russia without Article 5 protection. Lets think the logistics through. A battle group ready to deploy to Ukraine.If it was light infantry, possible as a few A-400 or C-17 loads but what if they wanted to take some armour etc? Military power in the World has changed, we have to get used to it.

Meirion x
Meirion x
3 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

I think Ukraine has enough boots on the ground with reseves and has a lot of armour in T64MK’s better then T72’s.
It is in the air that more support is needed with extra SAMs or even Iron Dome. Ukraine does have Mig’s and SU’s in various conditions, some in process of repair over 150 potentially be in service again which could be armed with AMRAAM from the West.

Last edited 3 days ago by Meirion x
Frank62
Frank62
3 days ago
Reply to  Ulya

How very reassuring. Even Nazi Germany didn’t invade all of Poland in 1939. Someone else grabbed the other half. Ultimately ended very badly for both parties.

Farouk
Farouk
4 days ago
Reply to  chris stocken

Chris,
If you have the time this is an interesting read on the subject:
https://www.csis.org/analysis/russias-possible-invasion-ukraine

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Farouk

Quite interesting as an academic analysis based on how NATO might do it. This is not how the Russians, with their equipment and skill set today would deal with the situation. Objective 2, the most likely, is basically dismissed so not there in detail.

Airborne
Airborne
4 days ago

Superb asset, one of many niche capabilities lacking in many of our European NATO allies.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

There are not many the US would sell this too mate.

Goes with being in the 5 eyes club, one of our trump cards ignored by most only seeing how many of this and that.

JohninMK
JohninMK
4 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

It is indeed a superb asset in peacetime or in the local wars that we have been in over the last 30 years. In a war against a country like Russia, with long range SAMs and fighters, they will lose their effectiveness as they have, given the value of the team onboard, to operate a long way back from the front line. In some respects they are giving us a false sense of security in terms of information collection that will vanish at the moment it is needed most.