[Video] Up close and personal with the elusive RC-135 Rivet Joint at Al Udeid airbase, Qatar

You don’t happen to see many close up footage of the RC-135 Rivet Joint spyplane.

The Rivet Joint is a U.S. strategic asset that is used by the Pentagon in every theater across the globe to draw the EOB (Electronic Order of Battle) of the enemy prior and during crisis or wars.

The aircraft is equipped with all sorts of antennae and sensors, to eavesdrop enemy signals, transmissions, detect frequencies used by radio and radars and pinpoint sites of interest, mobile stations, SAM batteries, etc. within a large area of operation, and transmit the snooped data via satellite.

Whereas an RC-135W is often launched from RAF Mildenhall, in the UK, to collect Russian emissions from the Baltic Sea, other Rivet Joint are based at Al Udeid airbase, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf, from where they operate within the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and keep an eye on the electromagnetic spectrum of Iranian (and Iraqi) and other regional forces.

Here’s an interesting video, with some close-ups on the elusive plane.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.