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Old 25th Dec 2012, 07:27   #1 (permalink)
Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
 
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RAF Rivet Joint

Ares: Leaked Image Shows First RAF Rivet Joint

An image leaked on the internet shows what appears to be the first RC-135 Rivet Joint destined for the U.K. Royal Air Force.



The RAF has three RC-135s on order, making the U.K. the first export customer for the RC-135V/W Sigint jets. The aircraft have been converted from a trio of 1964-vintage Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers which had been sitting in the boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB.

The three aircraft were ordered by the Ministry of Defence in March 2010 and the first aircraft is expected to roll out early next year. Once in service, the aircraft will be operated by No. 51 Sqn which famously operated the Nimrod R1, an aircraft which for many years the RAF refused to disclose as being in operation because of the type’s intelligence gathering capabilities. In preparation for the Rivet Joint’s arrival, 51 Sqn crews have been flying missions with the 55th Wing to gain experience on the type. It is understood that the aircraft will be christened Airseeker in RAF service.

Sharp-eyed readers of this blog will notice the aircraft distinctly lacks an air-to-air refuelling probe and given the RAF has not ordered a boom for its Voyager tankers, the new Airseekers will end up being dependent on USAF or tankers from other nations for refuelling.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 07:52   #2 (permalink)
 
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IIRC the use of CFM-56 engines has significantly increased the fuel efficiency and so lessens the need for AAR. Also there is not too much space on board for extra crew to rotate for crew duty and also to fit a probe would require a complete redsign and cost £££££££s.

That said, NATO always have ANG KC-135s on standby for the AEW aircraft. There is usually a shortage of drogue AAR on Coalition ops, not boom.

So it is a desicion that probably wasn't taken lightly but was the best one to keep HELIX/AIRSEEKER alive. Furthermore, it cements the UK/USA 'special relationship', which should not be underestimated.

iRaven

Last edited by iRaven; 25th Dec 2012 at 07:53.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 07:58   #3 (permalink)
 
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Loads of factual errors in ORAC's report, but good to see a contractor delivering on time, indeed months a head of schedule. Lets hope the other pieces required to ensure the UK has full military capability are deliverd by DES and the other stakeholders.

I wonder if the ac will look as shinny ofter a few months of UK ownership?
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 08:03   #4 (permalink)
 
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If that's the scheme they have wasted the opportunity to add the lightning flash the RAF used on most aircraft including the VC10..
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 09:49   #5 (permalink)
 
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There's something about this picture that raises a question: is the "Royal Air Force" painted on, or Photoshopped on?
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 11:30   #6 (permalink)
 
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photoshop...

-RP
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 11:33   #7 (permalink)
 
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The paint job in the photo makes me a touch nostalgic for VC10s in Transport Command livery, a bit like...



picture by Simon Moore.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 11:34   #8 (permalink)
 
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Yep it's a photoshop onto a US Air Force model, the font is the American style one. "Royal Air" has simply been pasted on the top.

Can't see RAF Rivet Joints having a US style colour scheme like either, I'd bet it'll just be grey all over.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 11:45   #9 (permalink)
 
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Not hemp?

..
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 12:32   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I'd be surprised if we didn't use the US colour scheme. The aircraft is stuffed with equipment that produces heat and a completely new paint scheme would change the thermal properties. Why pay more and introduce extra risk?
Total Bollo€ks
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 13:57   #11 (permalink)
 
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The R1s were airdefence blue at the end of their time.



The MR2s were hemp to provide CCD protection whilst on the ground!!
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 14:00   #12 (permalink)
 
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Thank you Finnpog

AAHHHH Changi and the 38Gp Pan- the last time I went through that gap they had to put the gates down as well (only we were doing about 250kts and ATC were a bit worried about a double decker bus coming along the road). The AOC wasn't very pleased either, but that's another story!
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 14:17   #13 (permalink)
 
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This was the expected colour scheme when I was working around the project...



I seem to remember the glossy white top was required to reflect heat when on the ground in sandy/hot places or the thing turns into an oven!

So it should have a red goose on the fin, roundels and City of Lincoln crest under the flight deck window.

Merry Christmas all

LJ

Last edited by Leon Jabachjabicz; 25th Dec 2012 at 14:19.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 15:37   #14 (permalink)
 
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Rivet Joint or Pop Rivet?

One question I've yet to see answered is whether the operational requirement takes a post Afghan theatre into account.

And if so, what and where might that be?

SGC
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 15:43   #15 (permalink)


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Damn, that must be some kind of Dorian Grey aircraft?
Look at the reflection in the water - you can see it hasn't aged from new
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 15:54   #16 (permalink)
 
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Image in the water is not a reflection. It is a USAF aircraft with US insignia
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 15:59   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
The R1s were airdefence blue at the end of their time.
Really? I saw the last ones fly out of Waddo (in fact saw the last one) and they def weren't airdefence blue.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 16:18   #18 (permalink)
 
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MMmmmmm, hemp....


Quote:
Why pay more and introduce extra risk?
Err, welcome to the MoD

Last edited by Willard Whyte; 25th Dec 2012 at 16:20.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 16:44   #19 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnpog View Post
The paint job in the photo makes me a touch nostalgic for VC10s in Transport Command livery, a bit like...



picture by Simon Moore.
Bit more nostalgia is the Brit. in the background.
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Old 25th Dec 2012, 18:03   #20 (permalink)
 
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They will be the oldest new aircraft that we've ever bought!
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