A British RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft has been monitoring Russian forces near the Ukrainian border within the last 24 hours.
A British RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft has been monitoring 'the front line' of Eastern Ukraine and Crimea within the last 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/ibqaZjbZ1E
— George Allison (@geoallison) April 12, 2021
Other aircraft, including an American RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone are also present in the area.
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.