Saturday, January 22, 2022

US RC-135W spy plane flies from UK into Ukrainian air space

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.

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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.

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Executive Editor

About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. 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.

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