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The UK Royal Air Force and the USAF are working on a memorandum of understanding which will give the UK access to tankers equipped with refueling booms to support its fleet of RC-135 Rivet Joint intelligence-gathering aircraft.
Officers close to the Airseeker program, which will cover the procurement of three Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joints, tell Aviation Week they hope to have the MoU in place by the end of this year when the first RAF Rivet Joint arrives in the UK. The support is essential as the UK does not have any air-to-air refueling aircraft fitted with a boom, and there are no plans to add a probe to refuel from drogue-equipped aircraft in a bid to reduce costs in the Foreign Military Sales program.
According to officials the endurance of the RC-135 will be limited from the 9,000 ft. runway of the aircraft’s planned homebase of RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. Officials point out that the UK ISTAR assets are regular users of USAF tankers based in Europe. British E-3D Sentry airborne early warning aircraft routinely top-up their tanks from USAF KC-135s based at RAF Mildenhall in the UK or from aircraft detached to the NATO base at Geilenkirchen in Germany which support the E-3As flown by NATO’s E-3A Component.
Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by dowot
The US has more tankers than some airforces have planes, so they're the more flexible one to come to for refueling options. The Dutch could be used as well as Turkey, Indonesia, and France (all three have bought KC-135s from the US). The US has over 400 KC-135s, and 59 KC-10s.
This is the KC-135 boom: