RC-135W Rivet Joint

Variants of the RC-135 have been in service with the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1960s, forming the backbone the United States airborne intelligence collection capability.

The RC-135W Rivet Joint is a large, all-weather electronic surveillance aircraft based on the C-135 airframe.

The Royal Air Force has purchased three RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, currently being converted from KC-135R Stratotanker airframes to RC-135W standard at the L3 Communications facility in Greenville, Texas. The first aircraft is due for delivery in late 2013, with the final delivery expected in 2017.

A programme of continual upgrades has kept the USAF RC-135 fleet at the cutting edge of technology and relevant capability. The three RAF aircraft will continue to benefit from the upgrade programme in turn with USAF aircraft.

The RC-135W Rivet Joint is equipped with a variety of sensors, allowing its multi- disciplined crew to intercept and exploit emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum, providing both strategic and tactical level intelligence.

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