An RC-135 Rivet Joint ‘signals intelligence’ surveillance aircraft has been patrolling close to the Russian border near Kaliningrad.

These flights are routine and a normal part of intelligence gathering and picture building activities. Russia does it too.

The RC-135W Rivet Joint and its sensors are designed to undertake ‘signals intelligence’ missions, in other words they ‘soak up’ electronic emissions from communications, radars and other systems.

This comes not long after previous British RC-135 missions operating over Black Sea and Baltic Sea, this heavy usage demonstrates the apparent utility these aircraft have to the Ministry of Defence.

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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Goldilocks
Goldilocks
14 days ago

I’m sure the Russians will be happy!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Rivets have been operating on the periphery of the USSR / Russia for decades. One was operating on the night KAL007 went down and probably contributed to that tragedy.

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago

Is it just me, or have a few post just disappeared, did someone in a passing RC135 hit the delete button, come to think about it, why has that Ice-cream van with the blacked out windows been outside my house all week….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

No idea mate.

Andrew D
Andrew D
14 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

👀

John Clark
John Clark
14 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

😂😂👍

Tommo
Tommo
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

There will be a lot of “Gingerbread” Chatter whenever we skirt the boarder it’s just the done thing an echo from the cold war

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
14 days ago

According to Janes, after the government extended the out of service date of the Rivet Joints to 2035, they have now signed a deal with the US to extend the service and support agreement to coincide with that date.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
14 days ago

I see now that you’ve also got that covered.