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KC-135 Stratotanker Refuels RC-135 Rivet Joint

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Published on May 5, 2012

RC-135 Rivet Joint Refueling, Video by Amanda Helton | U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs | Date: 02.25.2011. RC-135 Rivet Joint gets refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker. Produced by Staff Sgt. Amanda Helton. Also available in High Definition.

RC-135V/W Rivet Joint: The RC-135V/W is the USAF's standard airborne SIGINT platform. Its sensor suite 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 crew consists of the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators, and airborne systems maintenance personnel. All Rivet Joint airframe and mission systems modifications are performed by L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, under the oversight of the Air Force Materiel Command. All RC-135s are assigned to Air Combat Command. The RC-135 is permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska., and operated by the 55th Wing, using various forward deployment locations worldwide. Under the "BIG SAFARI" program name, RC-135Vs were upgraded from the RC-135C "Big Team" configuration, itself a mission modified RC-135B (the first version delivered). RC-135Ws were originally delivered as C-135B transports, and most were modified from RC-135Ms. For many years, the RC-135V/W could be identified by the four large disc-capped MUCELS antennae forward, four somewhat smaller blade antennae aft and myriad of smaller underside antennae. Baseline 8 Rivet Joints (in the 2000s) introduced the first major change to the external RC-135V/W configuration replacing the MUCELS antennae with plain blade antenna. The configuration of smaller underside antennae was also changed significantly. [Source: Wikipedia]

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