UK Rivet Joint’s Accelerated Delivery

The US is on track to deliver the second of three RC-135 Rivet Joints to the Royal Air Force seven months ahead of schedule to rapidly enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities over Iraq and Syria, RAF officials announced. “We’re the only coalition nation conducting manned ISR over Syria,” British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in a release. The RC-135s—dubbed “Airseeker” in RAF service—were bought under a foreign military sales deal to replace the UK’s retired Nimrod R.1 signals intelligence gathering aircraft in 2008. “Our latest Airseeker plane will be delivered next month … and will be operational shortly after that in the skies above Iraq and Syria—providing essential intelligence in the fight against ISIL. No one, except the US, matches our efforts,” added Fallon. The RAF’s third and final RC-135 is slated for delivery by 2017, reported IHS Jane’s.