L-3 to deliver Rivet Joint aircraft to UK

LONDON — Britain is set to take delivery of its second Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft from US contractor L-3 Communications in the next few weeks according to sources familiar with the program.

The new aircraft will join the first RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft delivered to the Royal Air Force in late 2013 to replace BAE Nimrod R1 spy planes.

via L-3 to deliver Rivet Joint aircraft to UK.

This is one of those programs that doesn’t receive a lot of attention. One of the key aspects of airpower is that it requires fast, accurate intelligence to generate targets, otherwise it’s simply a means of disposing of jet fuel. And the Rivet Joint is very useful for generating that intelligence.

It’s also a rather stupendously expensive aircraft. And given the crippling austerity the RAF is working under, that tells you just how important signals intelligence is to the RAF and, in a  more general sense, airpower itself.

1 thought on “L-3 to deliver Rivet Joint aircraft to UK”

  1. My favourite fun fact about this aircraft.
    It has TWENTY SEVEN crew members.

    The C-135 on which it is based has, 3, there are two additional flyer type people and then 22 “rear area” crew.
    TWENTY TWO

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