The Royal Air Force has declared the full operational capability for the RC-135 Airseeker/Rivet Joint ahead of schedule.

RAF Airseeker capability fully operational
RAF Airseeker capability declared fully operational.

The Airseeker capability comprises the RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft and a ground-based analysis unit. It was initiated to replace the Nimrod R1 which retired in 2011 and to sustain the UK Airborne Electronic Surveillance capability against an evolving target set to 2035.

The Airseeker Capability is already proven operationally, supporting efforts against Daesh in the Middle East whilst also contributing to the RAF’s wider ISTAR Force which includes Sentry, Shadow, Sentinel and Reaper in addition to the reconnaissance capabilities of RAF fighter aircraft.

Delivery of the Airseeker Programme has been a collaborative effort with close cooperation with US partners including L-3 Mission Integration in Greenville, Texas, who converted KC-135 air-air refuelling aircraft to RC-135 standard. In addition to the aircraft, the US Government has also provided ground infrastructure, training of personnel and ground support systems.

The third of three aircraft arrived at RAF Waddington, Lincs last year and with full operational capability being declared the fleet is now deployable in support of national and coalition tasking.

Source: RAF

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