UK’s Second RC-135 Delivered Early

The Royal Air Force received its second RC-135W Rivet Joint—dubbed Airseeker in RAF service—in a hand-over ceremony at RAF Mildenhall, UK, earlier this month. “The delivery of the second Airseeker provides our armed forces with another vital intelligence aircraft that will give valuable support to our fight against enemies such as ISIL,” UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in an RAF release. The RAF purchased a total of three RC-135 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its retired Nimrod R.1 in 2008. The RAF plans to quickly deploy the second aircraft to support operations over Iraq and Syria, according to the release. The third and final aircraft is slated for delivery in 2017, and all three will be based at RAF Waddington alongside the RAF’s E-3D AWACS and Sentinel R.1 ISR platforms. US contractors completed and delivered the aircraft seven months ahead of schedule on Sept. 4.