RAF to receive RC-135Ws at the end of 2013

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posted on Sep, 24 2012 @ 09:16 PM
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There are a few more details available about the RAF RC-135W Airseeker program (not sure if that's the program name, or the nickname of the aircraft). The three aircraft are KC-135s that are undergoing conversion to the RC-135 standard.

The conversion started in January of 2011, with a glass cockpit being installed. The project has included extensive reskinning to deal with corrosion, removal of the boom, installation of inflight refueling piping, and replacement of all the wiring on the aircraft.

At the same time RAF crews have been training at Offut Air Force Base on the RC-135V/W. Once the crews are certified, they will serve on crews on active missions with US crews.


“A number of aircraft skins have been replaced to deal with corrosion and prepare the aircraft for its service life as an RC-135″ UK’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) said in an article in its monthly publication “Decider”. “Additional work has included removing the tankers refuelling boom system, installing an air-to-air refuelling receiver system above the the cockpit, and replacing every wire in the aircraft. Mission equipment racks have also been fitted in the rear cabin, Progress in the aircraft is on schedule, with delivery on track for December next year.”

theaviationist.com...




posted on Sep, 24 2012 @ 09:21 PM
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Oh, excellent! I was worried that after Sentinel was retired we would have literally no airborne intelligence gathering assets....

This is pleasing...



posted on Sep, 24 2012 @ 09:35 PM
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It's pretty impressive that they're managing to be on schedule, considering that they're basically stripping a KC-135 down to bare bones and rebuilding it. That's a huge job.



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 10:41 AM
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The first Airseeker arrived in the UK ahead of next years entry into service. All three aircraft are supposed to be in service by mid-2017. RAF crews have accumulated 32,000 hours over 1800 sorties flying with US crews on USAF RC-135s.

www.flightglobal.com...

One interesting thing that I didn't notice before is the antenna on the top of the tail. That's rather interesting.
edit on 11/12/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 11:22 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


£150M per aircraft, when you consider its a 50 year old second hand jet, there must be some pretty special stuff on the inside!



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 11:24 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


Oh yeah. They have some pretty impressive stuff on them. I was shocked when they allowed me on one, and gave me the grand tour (not the most current now, but it was at the time).



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 11:26 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Didnt they make you sign anything? If not, do tell, lol



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 11:29 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


Haha, nope and nope.


They had a lot of electronic stuff, some optical stuff. The ELINT gear was really impressive.



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Is there a cool plane you HAVEN'T been on?



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 12:17 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


You know, I said to a work mate yesterday talking about this (he is quite clued up and we have good discussions on Night shifts) that this contract isn't too different from the Nimrod contract that was canned, in so far as it was stripping down an ancient aircraft and rebuilding it, but BAe were over budget and behind schedule, while this is on target and ahead of schedule...

Bloody BAe....



posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by Sammamishman
 


One or two. Not many more than that. Lol



posted on Nov, 13 2013 @ 10:05 AM
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posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 02:50 AM
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To the more observant members, any particular lumps and bumps added to/ missing from this version compared to the USAF model?

I'd look myself but I've got a migraine.



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 03:50 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


Some higher quality images at following links.

ZZ664 Link 1

ZZ664 Link 2

ZZ664 Link 3
edit on 16/11/2013 by tommyjo because: malformed link corrected



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 04:40 AM
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reply to post by stumason
 


I believe that the Nimrod MRA4 would have been superior to the RC135 but the budget and time overruns were pretty horrendous. Even then, the way that it was cancelled and all the airframes chopped up so quickly was suspiciously efficient. Just like the way the Harrier was taken out of service and either sold or scrapped. Both situations reek of some sort of hidden agenda.



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 04:49 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


Oh yes. The most interesting is on top of the tail. I assume it has something to do with communications since it's on the top of the HF antenna.



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 05:13 AM
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iskander683
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I believe that the Nimrod MRA4 would have been superior to the RC135 but the budget and time overruns were pretty horrendous. Even then, the way that it was cancelled and all the airframes chopped up so quickly was suspiciously efficient. Just like the way the Harrier was taken out of service and either sold or scrapped. Both situations reek of some sort of hidden agenda.


MRA4 had nothing to do with SIGINT collection. The three Nimrod R.1s were scheduled to remain and extend until 2025. The MRA4 airframe was later proposed as an R.1 replacement when they were looking into Rivet Joint. The Nimrod R.1 with both crew (largest crew in the RAF) and equipment was a tight squeeze already. With the modifications to the MRA4 airframe the space was even more limited for it to be converted into a Nimrod R.1 replacement. If it was a bigger airframe it would have been feasible. Trying to shoe horn the R.1 crew and all the extra equipment into an MRA4 airframe would have been a nightmare. Everything would have to have undergone prolonged testing and it was agreed it couldn't have met the delivery period set.
edit on 16/11/2013 by tommyjo because: additional info added



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 05:58 AM
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Thanks for the pics and replies.

And yes, regarding the previous point about size, as an aid to comparison, remember the max capacity of the Comet 4 that the Nimrod was based on was 80 transatlantic passengers on BOAC or 96 tourist class seats with Dan Air. The 707 model closest to Airseeker had at least 50% more capacity. The only UK airframe that would have fitted the was the VC-10, but as cool as that would be, it would have been a 'ground up' project for three airframes.



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 06:59 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


Two interesting things I noticed looking at the pics. You guys are still using wire antennas, which is surprising. I thought those were gone by now. My father spent years trying to get them replaced, until finally CINCPACAF and CINCPACFLT were flying together, and were listening to each other talk on the radio, when one was on HF, and one was on SATCOM, because of the bleedover.

The other thing is that in the picture on the right side of the aircraft, there is a black square on the bottom of #3. Only that one, and only on that one picture that I can see.



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 01:11 PM
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reply to post by waynos
 


By the way, go read your stinking U2Us.





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