A British RC-135 ‘Rivet Joint’ intelligence gathering aircraft has been monitoring 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.

British aircraft continue to monitor Russian border with 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.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
30 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago

I’m quite happy that I don’t know but still be interested to know how much intel being gathered is being shared with Ukraine and how quickly. Old intel is better than none but new is best of all. I’m sure there are people in the Kremlin wondering the same.

Farouk
Farouk
3 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Something tells me, that Kiev have enough intelligence assets inside the breakaway dombas region.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Sometimes all you can tell you friends is where to look.

Mike O'Brien
Mike O'Brien
3 months ago

Sorry.
I try to keep up to date on these things but can anyone tell me if there are any equivalent French, German, Italian or Spanish (or any other Nato member aside from the US) assets carrying out this function/operation? I’ll reserve further comment until I know the facts.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Mike O'Brien

Good question. And I have no idea.

But I do know they don’t operate RC135s. That is a more exclusive club.

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
3 months ago

The events in Kazakhstan have been quite interesting, while Russia and the Stan have been trying to portray this as suppressing a foreign backed pro-democracy coup attempt the intelligence and insider talk is far more interesting. The current president was a puppet of the previous leader Nazarbayev who resigned in 2019 after 30 years in power but was still running the government behind the scenes (for instance having the capital renamed after himself). However the puppet saw the popular dissent in the fuel protests as an opportunity to turn on his master and stripped him and cronies of a lot… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Watcherzero
David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Interesting. If I was Nazarbayev I wouldn’t be accepting cups of tea from strangers.

JohninMK
JohninMK
3 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

The best short analysis I have read or heard to date and I see a lot.

JohninMK
JohninMK
3 months ago
Reply to  JohninMK

All I would add is that the previous president was leaning toward the West whilst the puppet, now the fully empowered president, was leaning towards Russia and China (he’s fluent in both). The bulk of the suppression, much of it brutal as you say, is by the local Kazak forces as the bulk of the CTSO forces led by the Russians have relieved those forces from guarding airports and other assets.At the last count 10,000 arrested. The CTSO forces start exiting in 2 days and will be out in 10.

Damo
Damo
3 months ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Mmmm let’s see

dave12
dave12
3 months ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Believing your own hype again .

JohninMK
JohninMK
3 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Perhaps you might care to say what I said in that para was wrong.

dave12
dave12
3 months ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Your suggestion they will be out in 10 days , and how do you know this?

JohninMK
JohninMK
3 months ago
Reply to  dave12

The President of Kazakhstan, Tokayev, announced yesterday morning that the phased withdrawal of the CSTO mission will begin in two days which is Thursday and that it will take no more than 10 days. We will see how it goes.

Last edited 3 months ago by JohninMK
dave12
dave12
3 months ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Fair enough.

Knight7572
Knight7572
3 months ago

And the Russian peace offer would stop these flights as NATO wouldn’t be able to send anything military to Eastern Europe

Frank62
Frank62
3 months ago
Reply to  Knight7572

That “Russian peace offer” was a blatent demand for complete freedom for Russia to do whatever it likes in eastern Europe. Thankfully it has been strongly rebuffed. Given the terrible weakness & malaise in NATO armed forces you can hardly blame Putin for trying it on. We’ve been giving all the wrong signals for too long.

Knight7572
Knight7572
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

Well of course it was as some of what Russia demanded is physically possible

Knight7572
Knight7572
3 months ago

Boy the Russian Propaganda trolls must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel if they’re saying the UK doesn’t build its own Planes, Submarines, Small Arms and Tanks

I think the RAF, RN, British Army, Royal Marines and the UK Defence Industry prove otherwise as does the 77 years after WW2

Frank62
Frank62
3 months ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Convenient for Russia to ignore that it was a Nazi ally before Hiltler stabbed them in the back in 1941 & then we supplied Russia with thousands of planes, tanks & other equipment.
But it’s true UK military production. development & procurement has become a basket case.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
3 months ago
Reply to  Frank62

A basket case that is still the 2nd largest defence exporter in the world.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago

I think a good sign that an invasion is imminent would be a deployment of B52&B1&B2 to UK facilities on a training exercise. Ukraine doesn’t need boots on the ground but does and I hope will get air support. There are plenty of NATO strike assets Inc our own typhoons close by but a deployment of B52&B1&B2 would be a very strong message to Putin…..Does anyone know if such a deployment is imminent or are the assets already here?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

No.

And if they get air support of that nature we are at war with Russia. Not good.

If any of those AC were forward deployed to Fairford it would be all over SM already from the plane spotter fraternity. Fairford does not host a permanent det of aircraft, just the infrastructure.

Mark
Mark
3 months ago

Just been reading up on the Budapest Memorandum regarding the support Ukraine can get for giving up its nukes…and unfortunately they are on there own Putin has already tore it up saying that the new Ukraine is form from revolution and so not bound by the the agreement. But a nice training exercise like the socum guys last week proves assest are in the area I would expect a routine mission of the big toys anytime soon if it does heat up a bit further. Also has anyone noticed the story about the under sea cable being cut between Norway… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Yes, see the link provided by a poster on the Response Force article yesterday.

Russian seabed ops you’d think.

Meirion x
Meirion x
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark

My preference to help the Ukrainians to defend themselves, is to provide them with robust SAMs systems or even ‘Iron Dome’ and early warning systems.
Provide AMRAAM for their Mig-29’s and SU-27’s. and other upgrades.
I see Ukraine had about 150 Mig-29 and 30+ SU-27’s in 2014 so potential to upgrade.

Last edited 3 months ago by Meirion x
Mark
Mark
3 months ago

Cheers

Last edited 3 months ago by Mark
George
George
3 months ago

Hi folks hope all is well.
Always best to keep up the Intel, knowledge is power, and the most live streaming the better. In addition, it keeps the Russian forces busy with running around feeding real or not real activities going on. We have the luxury of deciding and deciphering information which is valuable or not. And when to prepare for action.
Cheers,
George

dave12
dave12
3 months ago
Reply to  George

👍

JohninMK
JohninMK
3 months ago

OT but the first new build Tu-160M took to the air today on its maiden flight.