The Australian RAAF need as many of these planes as we can get are hands on we have very poor surveillance aircraft like this and what we do have is
old and worn to say the least.I was emailed this and i thougth you might find it of intresting to say the least.
The USAF RC-135V/W RIVET JOINT surveillance aircraft are equipped with an extensive array of sophisticated intelligence gathering equipment enabling
military specialists to monitor the electronic activity of adversaries. Also known as "RJ", the aircraft are sometimes called "hogs" due to the
extended "hog nose" and "hog cheeks". RIVET JOINT has been widely used in the 1990's -- during Desert Storm, the occupation of Haiti, and most
recently over Bosnia. Using automated and manual equipment, electronic and intelligence specialists can precisely locate, record and analyse much of
what is being done in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The fleet of 14 RIVET JOINT aircraft increased to 15 in late 1999 with the addition of a converted C-135B. The jet's conversion cost about $90
million. 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-135R 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 Air Force plans to spend at least $1.4 billion to keep the RC-135 Rivet Joint (RJ) fleet flying through 2018. The service also plans to modify a
recently retired Air National Guard KC-135 tanker, turning it into the Air Force’s 17th RJ signals-intelligence aircraft.
Basic roles include:
providing indications about the location and intentions of enemyforces and warnings of threatening activity
broadcasting a variety of direct voice communications. Of highest priority are combat advisory broadcasts and imminent threat warnings that can be
sent direct to aircraft in danger
operating both data and voice links to provide target info to US ground based air defenses
The RIVET JOINT aircraft are capable of conducting ELINT and COMINT intercept operations against targets at ranges of up to 240 kilometers [in
contrast to the 280 kilometer intercept range of the higher-flying U-2].
The RIVET JOINT aircraft operated by the 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., provide direct, near real-time reconnaissance information and
electronic warfare support to theater commanders and combat forces. In support of the 55th, the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron operates out of
Mildenhall and provides pilots and navigators to fly the aircraft. The 488th Intelligence Squadron provides the intelligence personnel who work in the
back of the plane. Since the beginning of Operation Joint Endeavor December 21, 1995 through May 1996 the 95th and 488th flew 625 hours and 72 sorties
together in support of the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
RIVET JOINT (RC-135V/W) is an air refuelable theater asset with a nationally tasked priority. It collects, analyzes, reports, and exploits enemy
BM/C4I. During most contingencies, it deploys to the theater of operations with the airborne elements of TACS (AWACS, ABCCC, Joint STARS, etc.) and is
connected to the aircraft via datalinks and voice as required. The aircraft has secure UHF, VHF, HF, and SATCOM communications. Refined intelligence
data can be transferred from Rivet Joint to AWACS through the Tactical Digital Information Link TADIL/A or into intelligence channels via satellite
and the TACTICAL INFORMATION BROADCAST SERVICE (TIBS), which is a nearly real-time theater information broadcast.
There is little question that the most sophisticated and capable collection system today is the 85000 System onboard the RIVET JOINT aircraft. The
House Intelligence Committee's concept would continue the incremental and continuous sensor improvement to the 85000 System with the goal of
``cross-decking'' it to the new aircraft in the then-current state of modification when the first aircraft is ready to accept it. This would require
``new'' equipment purchases for the first number of new aircraft that replace the EP-3, and the later number of aircraft would be outfitted with
equipment directly transferred from the RC-135 aircraft as each is retired. The cost savings realized with this concept would be substantial over the
alternative option to develop an entirely new SIGINT system.
The Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) is developing a family of CDL-compatible, low-cost, light weight, digital data links for initial application to
unmanned aerial vehicles. Normally the data returns with the collecting aircraft to be downloaded and processed at base. A long-standing need remains
to provide the theater CINC and/or the National Command Authority (NCA) with the ELINT environment in real-time. In the future TCDL design is expected
to be extended to additional manned and unmanned applications, including RIVET JOINT. The TCDL will operate in Ku band and will be interoperable with
the existing CDL at the 200 Kbps forward link and 10.71 Mbps return link data rates and is expected to interface to the Tactical Control System (TCS).
On February 12, 1997 Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company, was selected by the Joint Airborne Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Program Office for
development and demonstration of the Joint SIGINT Avionics Family (JSAF) Low Band Subsystem (LBSS). Major subcontractors include: Radix Technologies,
Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.; Applied Signal Technologies (APSG) of Sunnyvale, Calif.; and TRW System Integration Group, also of Sunnyvale. Radix
will provide radio frequency (RF) and digital signal processing subsystems; APSG will develop special signal processing subsystems; and TRW will be
responsible for high speed networking and computing subsystems. The JSAF low band subsystem is a platform-independent, modular, reconfigurable suite
of hardware and software that can address multiple mission scenarios aboard a variety of aircraft. It will significantly enhance the ability of
reconnaissance platforms to detect and locate modern enemy communications systems and provide real time intelligence on enemy intentions and
capabilities to the warfighter. Initially, JSAF LBSS will be deployed on U.S. Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft and other special Air Force
platforms as well as the U.S. Army's RC-7 (Airborne Reconnaissance Low) and the U.S. Navy's EP-3 aircraft. JSAF LBSS will also be capable of
deployment on unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) in the future. JSAF collection systems intercept, exploit, and report on modern modulation and low
probability of detection communications and radar signals. It permits the collection of signals in the presence of co-channel interfering signals, and
provides interoperability between primary DOD airborne collection platforms, establishing the infrastructure to support near-real-time exchange of
information for rapid signal geolocation and targeting. Provide compliance with DOD directed Joint Airborne SIGINT Architecture (JASA). Current
aircraft architecture and collection system have insufficient capability to intercept modern modulation and low probability of detection
communications and radar signals. System requires improvements to accurately measure signal polarization and angle of arrival to the required
accuracy, and to process signals in the presence of co-channel interfering signals. DOD airborne collection platforms do not operate under a common
architecture and are limited in their ability to exchange data among platforms for the purpose of rapid signal triangulation for geolocation and
targeting. Four aircraft undergo PDM per year. Current funding in FY01/02 only supports JSAF modification for three of the four aircraft during those
years. Result will be 2 different aircraft configurations moving thorugh PDM. The impact includes dual qualified aircrews, split logistics, increased
training, increased cost for "out-of-cycle" modification.
The RIVET JOINT Joint Airborne SIGINT Architecture (JASA) High Band Sub-System (HBSS) Upgrade procures and installs upgrades to the RIVET JOINT’s high
band antennas, RF distribution network, and software to intercept, exploit, and report on modern modulation and low probability of detection
communications and radar signals. It permits the collection of signals in the presence of co-channel interfering signals, and provides
interoperability between primary DOD airborne collection platforms, establishing the infrastructure to support near-real-time exchange of information
for rapid signal geolocation and targeting. Provide compliance with DOD directed Joint Airborne SIGINT Architecture (JASA). The JSAF CRD (CAF 002-88
Joint CAF -USA, USN, USMC CAPSTONE Requirements Document for JOINT SIGINT AVIONICS FAMILY) requires all airborne reconnaissance aircraft to migrate to
JASA compliance by 2010. Current aircraft architecture and collection system have insufficient capability to intercept modern modulation and low
probability of detection communications and radar signals. System requires improvements to accurately measure signal polarization and angle of arrival
to the required accuracy, and to process signals in the presence of co-channel interfering signals. DOD airborne collection platforms do not operate
under a common architecture and are limited in their ability to exchange data among platforms for the purpose of rapid signal triangulation for
geolocation and targeting.
The RIVET JOINT SHF High Gain Steerable Beam Antenna Upgrade I will procure and install a new antenna array in the cheek to provide increased
sensitivity and signal separation for selected frequency bands. It provides an increased number of steerable beams in bands that currently have
steerable beams, and provides steerable beams in bands not currently steerable beam capable. Increases the number of signals that can be processed
simultaneously and increases signal selectivity against co-channel signals. Increasing number of low power signals and increased signal density have
decreased the ability to collect tasked targets due to co-channel signal interference. Antenna improvements permit deeper target penetration against
low power emitters or increased standoff ranges. The current SHF antenna array does not provide the sensitivity or selectivity required to collect low
power or co-channel signals, reducing probability of intercept.
RIVET JOINT SHF High Gain Steerable Beam Antenna Upgrade II procures and installs a new antenna array in the cheek to provide increased sensitivity
and signal separation in selected frequency bands. Provides an increased number of steerable beams in bands that currently have steerable beams, and
provides steerable beams in bands not currently steerable beam capable. Increases the number of signals that can be processed simultaneously and
increases signal selectivity against co-channel signals. Increasing number of low power signals and increased signal density have decreased the
ability to collect tasked targets. Antenna improvements permit deeper target penetration against low power emitters or increased standoff ranges. The
current SHF antenna array does not provide the sensitivity or selectivity required to collect low power or co-channel signals, reducing probability of
The RIVET JOINT High Frequency (HF) Direction Finding (DF) System procures and installs a ten element HF array antenna on RIVET JOINT to provide HF DF
capability. Upgrades the Joint SIGINT Avionics Family (JSAF) LowBand SubSystem (LBSS) receiver to process HF DF. The current RIVET JOINT HF capability
is limited to a long wire antenna. This configuration supports signal reception, but not HF DF. The aircraft is tasked to perform search,
classification, collection, and DF of all militarily significant signals. This tasking includes signals in the HF band. Without HF DF, the aircraft
will continue to have no DF capability in this increasingly significant frequency band. A ten element HF antenna array, and receiver upgrades are
needed to perform HF DF operations. Without the installation of a ten element HF antenna array, RIVET JOINT will not be able satisfy the requirement
to DF signals in the HF band.
The RIVET JOINT 360º Search, Acquisition, and Direction Finding System procures and installs a circular antenna array and receiver system designed to
search, acquire and DF emitters over the full. The antenna will be centerline mounted on the aircraft underside. The antenna output will be routed to
a new receiver dedicated to 360º intercept. The receiver output would be routed to existing processors for exploitation. The proposed implimentation
will retain the high sensitivity and geolocation accuracy of the current system while adding an additional antenna array and receiver specifically for
360º coverage. RIVET JOINT is currently unable to satisfy the long-standing requirement to search, acquire, and DF emitters through the full 360º. The
current radar acquisition and DF systems have a limited field of view, restricted to 120º on each side of the aircraft. Additionally, the operator can
only select one side or the other. The aircraft is often employed in orbits requiring a greater antenna field of view, often from both sides of the
aircraft, or from the nose and tail. The crew currently accomplishes this tasking by alternating antenna selection from side to side, and by changing
aircraft headings. These tactics provide sequential, not simultaneous looks at the target area, and pose a significant probability of missing
short-up-time and low-probability-of-intercept emitters.
RIVET JOINT Wideband Line-of-Sight Data Link procures, installs and integrates a wideband datalink terminal on the aircraft. Datalink would be
line-of-sight capable. Datalink will be interoperable with ground-tethered assets for data exchange and exploitation. Permits airborne exploitation of
UAV sensors. Provides capability for cooperative direction finding for near instantaneous target geolocation. Allows aircrews to draw on in-theater
intelligence center databases and processing capability. Provides for near-real-time interaction between theater assets, increasing probability of
intercepting targets, and increasing geolocation accuracy of target locations. Airborne reconnaissance platforms require a wideband datalink for
interaction among platforms in order to provide high probability of signal detection, provide accurate and timely target geolocation, draw on theater
atabases and processing capability to exploit robust signals, and permit airborne access to UAV sensor data. Without this upgrade, RIVET JOINT
aircraft will not be able to exchange data among in-theater reconnaissance platforms and draw on CONUS based national assets to exchange data,
cooperatively geolocate targets, and exploit robust targets in near-real-time.
RIVET JOINT Wideband SATCOM Data Link/Global Broadcast Service (GBS) procures, installs and integrates a wideband datalink terminal on the aircraft.
Datalink would expand the capability of a wideband line-of-sight datalink to add SATCOM capable. Datalink will be interoperable with ground-tethered
assets for data exchange and exploitation. Permits airborne exploitation of UAV sensors. Provides capability for cooperative direction finding for
near instantaneous target geolocation. Allows aircrews to draw on in-theater intelligence center databases and processing capability, or provide for
reach-back to CONUS intelligence center databases and processing capability. Provides for near-real-time interaction between theater and national
assets, increasing probability of intercepting targets, and increasing geolocation accuracy of target locations. Terminal will permit receipt of
Global Broadcast Service. Airborne reconnaissance platforms require a wideband datalink for interaction among platforms in order to provide high
probability of signal detection, provide accurate and timely target geolocation, draw on theater and CONUS databases and processing capability to
exploit robust signals, and permit airborne access to UAV sensor data. RIVET JOINT aircraft will not be able to exchange data among in-theater
reconnaissance platforms and draw on CONUS based national assets to exchange data, cooperatively geolocate targets, and exploit robust targets in
RIVET JOINT Operator Workstation Upgrade procures and installs high resolution operator displays to improve target detection and signal recognition.
Wide band fiber optic base audio distribution network to all operators. Wide band, high capacity COTS audio recorders. High capacity, digital,
reprogramable, wideband demodulators and processors. Current display resolution is insufficient to allow accurate signal detection and recognition of
modern modulation target signals. Several current target emitters exceed the bandwith of the current audio distribution system, resulting in
unintelligible audio output. Several receiver outputs are routed to specific operator positions, limiting flexibility in responding to theater driven
dynamic target environments. Bandwidth and capacity of current recorders is exceeded by an emerging class of wideband modern modulation target
emitters. Bandwidth and capacity of current signal demodulators is exceeded by an emerging class of wideband modern modulation target emitters.
Current demodulators are not reprogramable. It is expensive and time consuming to reconfigure them to process different target emitters.
RIVET JOINT Cockpit Modernization includes the RIVET JOINT in the Air Force PACER CRAG initiative to upgrade the C-135 fleet cockpit, and installs the
GATM/FANS avionics required to operate in the evolving civil air structure. PACER CRAG installs new compasses, radar, multi-function displays, and
global positioning system/flight management system. New fuel panel, Mode S IFF, TCAS, precision altimeters, and DAMA compliant, 8.333 KHz channel
radios are included in this upgrade. The upgrade provides RIVET JOINT and RJ Trainer (TC-135) aircraft commonality with the C-135 fleet for training,
logistics, and parts. Eliminated "vanishing vendor" problems associated with diverging from the KC-135 avionics. Permits aircraft to comply with
ICAO navigation and communication standards to operate in the trans-oceanic and European portions of the commercial air structure. Improves safety,
reliability, and maintainability of aircraft. Aircraft will be denied access to increasing portions of civil air space without proper
navigation/communications equipment. Current avionics systems will become unsupportable as KC-135 migrates to newer equipment. Commonality will be
lost with the rest of the C-135 fleet. Common parts supply base will not be available.
CFM-56 Re-engining completes re-engining of RC-135 aircraft with CFM-56 engines, and modifies the airframes to support re-engining. The project
decreases cost of ownership and increases operational capability by installing new, fuel efficient engines. The upgrade also reduces maintenance
manpower and logistics costs; the new engine is more reliable than the current engine, and the engine is common with the AMC KC-135 fleet. This
project extends unrefueled range and time-on-station, and permits operations at higher altitudes, increasing airborne sensor field of view and
effectiveness. Increased altitude range provides flexibility to airspace planners integrating aircraft into conjested airspace just behind the FEBA.
The new engines decrease dependency on tankers for air refueling, and provide a capability to takeoff on shorter runways at increased gross weights.
The project facilitates two-level maintenance concept reducing costs by 32%, and supports improved aircraft environmental system prolonging sensitive
sensor life. Failure to fund re-engining to completion will leave a logistically split RC-135 fleet, equipped with two completely different engines.
Increased cost of ownership due to duplicate spares at each operating location. Current TF-33 engines will become more difficult and costly to support
requiring significant increases in future O&M costs (TF-33 parts no longer in production). The RC-135 fleet would lack commonality with re-engined
KC-135 fleet, and the GAO validated $1.7B life cycle savings (total RC-135 program) would not be realized if this project was not funded.
In 1996, the service decided to spend $612 million over a decade to include the RJs in the multibillion-dollar effort to replace engines aerial
tankers. As of late 2002, four RJs had been delivered On 24 October 2001 the House Appropriations Committee recommended spending for the re-engining
of four Rivet Joint aircraft.
RIVET JOINT Air Conditioning (A/C) Environmental Cooling Modifications procures and installs a vapor cycle cooling system. Includes a liquid cooling
loop and heat exchangers. The system will provide in excess of 10 tons of additional cooling at all operating altitudes. Permits effective operation
of collection systems added to the aircraft over the last decade. Reduces the requirements for auxiliary air conditioning during ground support
operations. The heat load of the "mission equipment" has exceeded the capacity of the standard C-135 air-conditioning system. Skin heat exchangers
have been installed to effect additional cooling. This system is only effective at altitudes in excess of 25,000 ft and has reached its capacity. To
allow future growth in system capabilities, flexibility in operations, and crew comfort, additional capacity must be obtained. Without increased A/C
capability, future growth of aircraft mission equipment, operational flexibility, and crew comfort will be curtailed.
The RIVET JOINT Mission Trainer (RJMT) will provide a high fidelity ground trainer for RC-135 RIVET JOINT reconnaissance compartment personnel, using
aircraft hardware and software. The trainer will be equipped with signal generators to create and display a full range of radar and communications
signals to the reconnaissance crew. A complex, syncronized signal environment can be presented to the crew, permitting coordinated exploitation of
these signal. The trainer will be equipped with Link-11, Link-16, and TIBS datalinks to train aircrew to effectively interact with other battle
management assets. The trainer will be Distributed Interactive Simulation capable, permitting RIVET JOINT participation in large scale exercises. The
RJMT will provide initial qualification, currency, and upgrade training. RJMT is required to conduct efficient and cost effective initial
qualification, continuation/proficiency, and specific mission area training for RC-135 reconnaissance compartment aircrew. Current RC-135 mission
training devices are limited to position mock-ups, outdated part-task trainers, PC-based procedural trainers, and audio playback workstations. These
devices are supplimented with extensive airborne training flights on mission aircraft. The heavy dependence upon mission aircraft directly impacts
training timeliness, continuity, and costs, and this training does not adequately simulate a challenging collection environment. RJMT will relieve the
training load in the ops squadron, reduce dependence on aircraft availability for training, and facilitate decreasing the total aircrew TDY rate to
120 days per year (ACC goal). RJMT will provide an improved margin of safety during contingency operations. The only contingency training available is
OJT during actual operations. The simulator will provide a safe controlled environment to practice tactics, develop new procedures, and exploit new
capabilities. RJMT will allow RC-135 aircrews to interact, through Distributed Interactive Simulation (DIS), with other platforms’ simulators. Through
electronic exercises, the RJMT will provide aircrew exposure to multiple interoperability issues, tactics, and procedures. RC-135 operational
effectiveness is significantly impacted because an integrated training device is not available for the training of crewmembers in Sensitive
Reconnaissance Operations (SRO), contingency support, SIOP missions, and exercises. Ops tempo is reduced to support initial training and proficiency
requirements. Air crewmember TDY will continue to exceed the stated ACC goal of 120 days per year. Capability to train entire squadrons on aircraft
equipment modifications/upgrades is not available. Capability for RC-135 aircrews to electronically exercise with other platform simulators developing
new tactics and procedures, performing interoperability issues will not be available.
RIVET JOINT Crew Comfort Upgrade installs a modern, commercial aircraft-class latrine for crew comfort. New latrine will provide increased holding
capacity and the capability to be serviced, from the ground, using current field servicing equipment. Provides a sink, with fresh running water,
allowing aircrews to wash their hands. Current aircraft latrine leaks and lacks privacy requirements needed for combined male/female aircrews. Waste
leakage is causing corrosion problems with aircraft structural components. The smell of the waste/disinfectant fouls the cabin air. Increased aircrew
stress due to inferior latrine facility which produces waste/disinfectant odors inside the mission crew area. Leakage corrodes the aircraft structural
As of mid-2002, upgrades had been completed on one of the Air Forces Rivet Joint aircraft. With an additional 16,000 pounds of thrust provided by the
F-108 engines, the new aircraft has increased endurance, increased reliability, and delivers an anticipated 25,000 more flying hours per engine than
before. In addition, the new engines increase the plane's fuel efficiency by 15 percent, increase its time to conduct the mission and enable it to do
the mission much more quietly than before. This re-engine initiative for the 14 RJ planes is one of three initiatives to keep the reconnaissance
aircraft contributing to the Air Force mission into the year 2020 or even 2030. The second phase is an update of critical mission equipment for the
electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and in-flight maintenance technicians. Phase three will update avionics
Thanks to Wayne Pryor for the email with this info all credit goes to him
Note i just found out this is from a diffrent source then i thought it was its from a security report where i thought it was orig work that had been
emailed to me and i didnt need to add much to it . The orig url is www.globalsecurity.org...
thanks to Spectre for
finding it . Its a good read anyway so enjoy.
[edit on 9-8-2004 by dwh0]