Sunday, December 4, 2022

U.S. Army intelligence-gathering aircraft spotted near Russian border

The U.S. Army’s Army’s premiere airborne SIGINT-collection and precision targeting location system was spotted in Lithuania, near the border with Russia.

Scramble Magazine reported that two U.S. Army Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) platform hosted on a fixed-wing King Air B200 aircraft, designated RC-12X, are residing at Lithuanian Air Force base located near Siauliai.

“Having initially arrived at the end of December 2019 as “GREY 11” and “GREY 33″, both Guardrails are now conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) flights on a daily basis from Šiauliai towards the Russian Kaliningrad exclave,” posted the Scramble Magazine.


Currently, the U.S. Army operates a fleet that comprised of 14 mission aircraft supporting multiple combatant commands and five training platforms.

Intelligence-gathering aircraft produces high-accuracy Communications Intelligence (COMINT) and Electronics Intelligence (ELINT) for battlefield mapping of common and modern signals of interest for detection, identification and geolocation of known threats. The Distributed Common Ground System–Army (DCGS-A) Operational Ground Station (OGS) processing, exploitation and dissemination capabilities allow for real-time signal exploitation and reporting, ensuring information dominance to commanders.

The standard concept of operations supports both single-ship, multiship and cooperative operations utilizing Tactical Common Data Links (TCDL) and network based infrastructure back to Continental United States (CONUS) based garrison locations where it is correlated, exploited and disseminated to supported commands.

The RC-12Xs, serials 93-00701 (“YANK 01”) and 92-13120 (“YANK 02”), are assigened to the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion (MI Bn), and normally based at Fort Bliss near El Paso (TX), as part of the US Army Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) fleet.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.