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UK to finally get Rivet Joint?


The UK MoD is set to announce a long-expected deal to buy three Boeing RC-135 ‘Rivet Joint’ aircraft.

January 14: Flightglobal reports that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is set to announce a long-expected deal to buy three Boeing RC-135 ‘Rivet Joint’ aircraft as replacement for its fleet of Nimrod R1s operated by 51 Squadron at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

One Nimrod R1 was withdrawn last year, leaving just two in service with the squadron. With the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence of the early withdrawal of the Nimrod MR2 fleet by April, maintaining the pair of R1s will become more difficult and costly as Nimrod maintenance contracts are withdrawn.

The report says that the three RC-135s will be modified for UK use by L-3 Communications Integrated Systems in the USA and are expected to be fitted with CFM-56 engines to provide commonality with the RAF’s fleet of E-3D Sentrys. Ironically the RC-135 airframes are expected to be even older than the Nimrods they will replace, the latter being constructed in the early 1970s.

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