A U.S. Air Force RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft flew from the United Kingdom into Ukrainian air space, according to the global flight tracking service Flightradar24.
A U.S. spy plane was seen flying over Ukrainian airspace on Saturday morning, local time, according to the flight tracking service.
The RC-135W Rivet Joint is an airliner-sized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft that was designed to gather telemetry and other electronic intelligence data.
The reconnaissance aircraft provide national-level consumers with near real-time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.
The aircraft is an extensively modified C-135. The Rivet Joint’s modifications are primarily related to its on-board sensor suite, which allows the mission crew to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission crew can then forward gathered information in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint’s extensive communications suite.
The interior seats more than 30 people, including the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and in-flight maintenance technicians.
Several sources say that the reason for the appearance of the American reconnaissance aircraft over Ukraine was the activation of Russian Buk systems along the border. A Russian Buk surface-to-air missile system was moved to a new location near the village of Maslovka near Voronezh, a short distance from its border with Ukraine.