RC-135 Rivet Joint
|RC-135 Rivet Joint|
|Crew||27 (augmented): 3 Pilots, 2 Navigators, 22 Recon Crewmembers|
|Length||135 ft||41.1 m|
|Wingspan||131 ft||39.9 m|
|Height||42 ft||12.8 m|
|Wing area||2,433 ft²||226 m²|
|Empty||98,466 lb||44,664 kg|
|Loaded||106,306 lb||48,220 kg|
|Maximum take-off||297,000 lb||134,000 kg|
|Engines||Four Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-5 turbofans|
|Thrust||16,060 lbf||71 kN|
|Maximum speed||500 mph (Mach 0.66)||800 km/h|
|Combat range||3,900 mi||6,500 km|
|Service ceiling||44,000 ft||13.4 km|
|Rate of climb|
The RC-135V/W Rivet Joint is a United States Air Force reconnaissance aircraft used to support theater and national level consumers with near real-time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.
The aircraft is an extensively modified C-135 (the military version of the Boeing 707). The Rivet Joint's modifications are primarily related to its on-board sensor suite, which 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 interior seats 32 people, including the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and in-flight maintenance technicians.
The Rivet Joint fleet is currently undergoing significant airframe, navigational and powerplant upgrades which include re-engining from the TF-33 to the CFM-56 engines used on the KC-135 Stratotanker and upgrade of the flight deck instrumentation and navigational systems to the AMP standard. The AMP standard includes conversion from analog readouts to a digital "glass cockpit" configuration.
The current RC-135 fleet is the latest iteration of modifications to this pool of aircraft going back to 1964. Initially employed by Strategic Air Command to satisfy nationally tasked intelligence collection requirements, the RC-135 fleet has also participated in every sizable armed conflict involving U.S. assets during its tenure. RC-135s were present supporting operations in Vietnam, the Mediterranean for Operation El Dorado Canyon, Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury, Panama for Operation Just Cause, and Southwest Asia for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. RC-135s have maintained a constant presence in both Southwest Asia and in the area of the Balkans since the early 1990s.
In addition to the RC-135V/W Rivet Joint, two other models are operational. These are the RC-135S Cobra Ball, and the RC-135U Combat Sent; both currently assigned to the 45th Reconnaissance Sq.
- Contractor: Raytheon
- Mission flight crew: 21–27, depending on mission requirements, minimum consisting of 3 Electronic Warfare Officers (Ravens), 14 Intelligence Operators and 4 Inflight/Airborne Maintenance Technicians (AMT/IMT)
- Date Deployed: Initial RC-135 conversions from 1964-1968; V/W configurations, 1981
- Inventory: Active force, 14; Reserve, 0; Guard, 0
|Modern USAF Series||Miscellaneous|
|Attack--OA/A-10,AC-130H/U||RC-135V/RC-135W Rivet Joint|
|Bomber--B-52,-2,-1B,F-117A||OC-135B Open Skies|
|Fighter--F-15/E ,F-16||KC-10 Extender|
|Electronic--E-3,-4B,-8C EC-130E/J,H||KC-135 Stratotanker|
|Transport--C-5,-17,-141B, -20,-21||MC-130E/H HC-130P/N|
|C-22B, -32, -130, -37A, -40B/C||MC-130P Combat Shadow|
|Trainers--T-1, -37, -38, -43, -6||MH-53J/M Pave Low|
|Weather--WC-130, -135||HH-60G Pave Hawk|
|UAV--RQ-1/MQ-1 UAV, Global Hawk||UH-1N Huey|
|VC-25 – Air Force One|