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First RAF Rivet Joint photo leaked

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posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 03:53 PM
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A photo of the first Royal Air Force RC-135V/W Rivet Joint has been leaked online, while undergoing modifications. It will be the first foreign operated RC-135. They will be designated Airseeker by the RAF.

The Airseeker airframes are 1964 era KC-135s that were in the Boneyard, and are undergoing conversion to the RC-135 standard. The first will be complete next year, and will enter service with 51 Squadron, which operated the Nimrod R1 Sigint aircraft. Crews have been flying with the 55th Wing which operates the RC-135 for the US Air Force.

One interesting thing is that the Airseeker will not have a refueling probe added, which means they will have to rely on USAF or Dutch tankers for air refueling.

RAF Airseeker




posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:31 PM
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Hi, Zaphod.

I often read your threads, though without comment. Would you mind explaining this a little further?


One interesting thing is that the Airseeker will not have a refueling probe added, which means they will have to rely on USAF or Dutch tankers for air refueling.


Thank you for your time.

Ex



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:41 PM
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Looks like a Herc mated with a passenger jet.



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by Ex_CT2
 


The British, and for that matter most European nations chose to go with the probe and drogue refueling system, as they didn't have many large aircraft that would require refueling. The USAF went with the boom system, because they have large aircraft that require large amounts of fuel to transfer in a short period of time.

The Airseeker is not being modified with the probe that would be used for the probe and drogue system, so they're going to have to rely on the few countries that have boom equipped tankers, since the new Voyager tankers the RAF is buying don't have the boom installed on them.

Probe and drogue:




Boom refueling:


British heavy aircraft with probe:




The USAF (KC-135/KC-10), the Netherlands AF (KDC-10, which is a DC-10 with a boom, and no extra fuel tanks installed in the airframe), the Italian AF (KC-767), all have boom equipped tankers, so the Airseeker will have to rely on tankers from one of those nations for in flight refueling.



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:45 PM
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Not familiar with the aircraft's mission profile but judging by what they have done to the airframe my guess would be it will be used as a C&C or as an airborne intel radio intercept aircraft; hard to believe that is all it's mission would be for....maybe multi-mission aircraft doing all sorts of neat stuff??

Is there a mission profile published??
edit on 25-12-2012 by 727Sky because: question



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


It's a Signals Intelligence aircraft (SIGINT). The US uses them to try to get antiaircraft sites to come up and when they do it maps them. They also, as you say, intercept communications and radar signals. There was one version (distinguished by one wing being painted matte black) that mounted cameras inside the fuselage, with large camera ports on the side, that would take pictures flying along the border of whatever nation they were flying near on the mission.
edit on 12/25/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


"One interesting thing is that the Airseeker will not have a refueling probe added" Sounds like a bit of a cock up to me, or am I just being cynical?

So who at the ministry is going to have a little holiday when they realise they missed something?

These planes are only 10 or 12 years younger than the comet, so how much better are they?



edit on 25-12-2012 by dowot because: Spelling check



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:04 PM
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reply to post by dowot
 


Quite a bit actually. The modification process included new engines, reskinning, and tearing down to the frame and repairing any corrosion or cracks found. They're mostly a new airframe, even though they were originally built in the 1960s.



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Thank you for the clarification. Very well done....



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
A photo of the first Royal Air Force RC-135V/W Rivet Joint has been leaked online, while undergoing modifications. It will be the first foreign operated RC-135. They will be designated Airseeker by the RAF.

The Airseeker airframes are 1964 era KC-135s that were in the Boneyard, and are undergoing conversion to the RC-135 standard. The first will be complete next year, and will enter service with 51 Squadron, which operated the Nimrod R1 Sigint aircraft. Crews have been flying with the 55th Wing which operates the RC-135 for the US Air Force.

One interesting thing is that the Airseeker will not have a refueling probe added, which means they will have to rely on USAF or Dutch tankers for air refueling.

RAF Airseeker


I understood that the RAF intended to buy and convert a number of A400M Grizzlies into tankers equiped with the flying boom system,which would make sense, as I understand that when we finally take delivery of our F-35's they will be fitted with the flying boom receptor,however,with the defence cuts that have been announced that project will probably fall by the wayside.
edit on 25-12-2012 by nake13 because: spelling



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by Ex_CT2
 


Both systems have advantages, and disadvantages to them. The probe and drogue system doesn't require a boomer to steer, and can be carried by fighters in a "buddy pod" system to refuel other fighters. The boom requires someone to steer it, and can only be flown on a premodified aircraft, but they can transfer several hundred thousand pounds of fuel within a fairly short period of time.



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:21 PM
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reply to post by nake13
 


When they switched back to the F-35B, they went back to the probe and drogue system. The A400M will be able to carry hoses to refuel them however. It's going to be a tactical tanker. France is also interested in buying as many as 10 KC-390 tankers from Boeing/Embraer (politics strikes again).



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by 727Sky
 


It's a Signals Intelligence aircraft (SIGINT). The US uses them to try to get antiaircraft sites to come up and when they do it maps them. They also, as you say, intercept communications and radar signals. There was one version (distinguished by one wing being painted matte black) that mounted cameras inside the fuselage, with large camera ports on the side, that would take pictures flying along the border of whatever nation they were flying near on the mission.
edit on 12/25/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)


Thank you for the reply...that is what it looked like from where I sat...I actually flew some of those type missions back in the 60s and 70s but the aircraft were not nearly as sophisticated as those in use today. Boring mission for pilots....



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by Ex_CT2
 


Weren't we going to be purchasing some of the KC135 x / 767 tankers, would make sense, they cannot be keeping the tristars or the VC10's much longer, the tankers can have both boom and drag so its not going to be an issue with the eurofighters, the C130 J & K's, and the E3's come with both probe and receptacle variants, the F35 has a receptacle.

Wee Mad



posted on Dec, 25 2012 @ 08:02 PM
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reply to post by weemadmental
 


The VC-10s are gone, the Tristars will be gone in 2014. The new Voyager tankers, based on the A330 only have the hose and drogue system. They opted not to go with the boom system, as nothing else in use by the RAF/RN uses a boom. This will be the only aircraft operated by the MoD that has a boom receptacle. The F-35B/C both use the probe and drogue. The A has a receptacle since it was designed for the USAF.
edit on 12/25/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 05:11 AM
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I would be more concerned about the lack of a probe if it were not for the speed with which Nimrods and Hercules' spouted refuelling probes when they needed to (the Falklands war).

It also reminds me of the hoo-ha surrounding the UK's decision to save money by not fitting the Typhoon with a gun, a decision which was quickly forgotten about when the Gulf War blew up. Refuelling probes are MUCH easier to plumb in than a gun, though admittedly, its better done at the start.

The image is also surprising given that all large RAF aircraft currently sport an overall grey colour scheme, is the glossy white top something to do with cooling, or is something wrong with the photo?



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 05:15 AM
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I would be more concerned about the lack of a probe if it were not for the speed with which Nimrods and Hercules' spouted refuelling probes when they needed to (the Falklands war).

It also reminds me of the hoo-ha surrounding the UK's decision to save money by not fitting the Typhoon with a gun, a decision which was quickly forgotten about when the Gulf War blew up. Refuelling probes are MUCH easier to plumb in than a gun, though admittedly, its better done at the start.

The image is also surprising given that all large RAF aircraft currently sport an overall grey colour scheme, is the glossy white top something to do with cooling, or is something wrong with the photo?



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 09:17 AM
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reply to post by waynos
 


With the CFM-56 engines, the loiter time is going to be pretty good, and I suspect that you're right and if it becomes truly necessary, a probe will appear quickly. It's also not like they don't operate with plenty of allies aircraft around. I am just amazed that they didn't have it installed from the get go, to keep from having to do a modification later on, and in a hurry if necessary.

The white seems to be a cooling thing, because all of the electronic aircraft (RC-135, E-6, EC-135, E-4) have all been either white, or white and grey, or some variation of that..
edit on 12/26/2012 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 26 2013 @ 08:38 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Thank you for a
Detailed answer!





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