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

The RC-135W Rivet Joint and its sensors are designed to ‘soak up’ electronic emissions from communications, radar and other systems.

The Open Source Intelligence Twitter account Intel Air & Sea followed the event earlier, if you don’t follow them then I’d suggest you go do that now.

This comes not long after British RC-135 and Sentinel surveillance aircraft were operating over Black 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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Levi Goldsteinberg

A complete circuit of occupied Königsberg by the looks of things

Ulya

Maybe once you convince Poland and Lithuania to return their parts of East Prussia you could ask the RF government to think about giving up Kaliningrad

dave12

LOL you have got more important issues to worry about Ulya ,the Belarus people look like its had enough of the Russian puppet leader there, Russia has lost its influence of the Ukraine forever , Mafia man Putin looks in ill health, Biden is gonna want retribution for Russia using wikileaks to launder Russian hacked files on US politicians, the list goes on and I guess so will the poisonings by the GRU.

Ulya

Good morning Dave, you are very predictable. If I interpreted the world as you do, it would seem I have a lot to worry about, fortunately I don’t. Relax, enjoy the future challenges, they make the world interesting

dave12

LOL predictable? maybe, I just like reminding you of who you support and the moral issues that come with them, as you seem to forget ,Putin supporters should not have the right for any moral high ground ,keep you talking and you are a predictable hardlined Putin supporter wishing all traitors the death penalty :), even though most want to progress Russia and not go down that dark history of the USSR , and I’m fine I live in the west with freedoms and living standards much higher, lets just hope no perfume bottles full with Novichoks land in a… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg

Leave it out mate

dave12

Na!!

Levi Goldsteinberg

Unfortunately you’re right. A revived Prussia will only ever exist in my heart

Ulya

If you don’t mind me asking Levi, why would you like a revived Prussia? I’m assuming some sort of family connection but am curious

Levi Goldsteinberg

It’s just a fantasy born from my love for 19th Century European history, there’s no logic to it. I suppose I also really like their aesthetics as well

Ulya

Thank you for the reply Levi.

Rob

Big fan of UK Defence Journal, and I know this info is out there on the web, but please don’t say exactly where our spy planes are in future.

This Rivet Joint mission is obviously a ‘we can do that too’ mission in retaliation for the spy ship in the Moray Firth. The great game continues.

Rfn_Weston

In all seriousness, why not?

It’s hardly the nuclear deterrent, and it’s squarking – so it wishes to be seen?

Rob

It’s a bit like the papers saying the Paras are about to attack Goose Green; ruddy obvious but we don’t need to advertise the fact. Give all the military as much security as they can possibly have I say.

Rfn_Weston

We’ll have to disagree on that one old bean I’m afraid!

Spilling the beans on actual planned kinetic action is in a different pigeon hole to a geopolitical statement in my book but always good to debate non the less!

Rob

Agree to disagree. However the funny thing is what did the Russians learn in the Moray Firth and we learn flying around Kaliningrad? Probably absolutely nothing. We both know all about radar wave lengths and signals voice procedure on the other side. Maybe a bit on individual operatives, otherwise just rattling the windows – silly boys.

Herodotus

They were possibly investigating golf courses on the Scottish east coast….or Trumpland as it sometimes known 🤪

Supportive Bloke

I think you are onto something.

One of my neighbours joked with me the other day that Trumps next job might be to take over from Putin?

Daveyb

I wont say precisely what they were likely doing, as I do know a fair bit about their capability. But let’s say the RAF won’t be the only agency involved in hoovering up RF coming out of Kaliningrad.

David Barry

Twaddle. It’s sqwaking and this is an article after the event.

Supportive Bloke

If it was supposed to be a ‘black’ mission I think they would have turned the transponder off?

So publishing this article tells you nothing that anyone armed with Google Chrome, or any other web browser, and and internet connection couldn’t figure out in one minute.

This was a message sent in the clear “we can too”

In the case of Kaliningrad there are loads of fixed monitoring sites round it anyway. So I’d be surprised if there was much to learn.

AlbertStarburst

Yep.

Reassuring to our “Public” to know that we are sniffing around them too.

Daniele Mandelli

Would be interesting to know if the USAF is still using its RC135’s around the eastern areas of Russia like they used to.

Daveyb

Yep, there was a big issue of one flying off Kamchatka a few months ago.

Daniele Mandelli

Ahhh, their old hunting ground. Cheers.

Daveyb

I believe there was one flying around Taiwan also a while back, that the Chinese objected to.