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September 6, 2015

UK Royal Air Force receives second Boeing RC-135 surveillance aircraft

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received a second Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft, enhancing the country's Airseeker programme.

By Samseer M

RAF Airseeker

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has received a second Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft, enhancing the country’s Airseeker programme.

The new Airseeker received more than 60 improvements after the delivery of the first aircraft last year.

The improvements ranged from upgrades to the aircraft’s mission systems to engine enhancements to deliver increased fuel efficiency and durability.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the aircraft will be deployable on operations within a matter of weeks.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "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.

"With a Defence budget that will rise in real terms over the next five years and a £163bn equipment plan, we are able to give our Armed Forces the best equipment."

"With a Defence budget that will rise in real terms over the next five years and a £163bn equipment plan, we are able to give our Armed Forces the best equipment to meet the growing and complex threats we face today."

In addition to gathering data and vital intelligence using advanced sensor technology, the Airseeker is capable of carrying out onboard analysis and distributing the information for exploitation by the ground assets through its high-tech communications suite.

The UK MoD had ordered three RC-135s from the US Government for £650m, as part of the Airseeker programme.

The UK RAF started operating the first Airseeker in July 2014 and is currently employed alongside the other RAF units in supporting operations in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIL.


Image: The UK’s second RC-135 surveillance aircraft arrived at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. Photo: courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence / Crown copyright.

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