LONDON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Britain has received the first of three Boeing RC-135V/W Joint Rivet signals intelligence aircraft for entry into service with the Royal Air Force next year.
The aircraft, with a range of 3,450 miles, is for detection, identification and geographic locating of signals intelligence. It has a speed of 580 miles per hour and a ceiling of 50,000 feet.
"I am delighted that the first Rivet Joint aircraft has been delivered to the UK, an important milestone in the procurement pathway for the future Airseeker signals intelligence capability for UK Defense," said Air Vice-Marshal Peter Ewen, director of air support at the Ministry of Defense's Defense Equipment and Support unit. "A testament to the ongoing and highly effective UK/US co-operation in the procurement program, support and RAF aircrew training, this first of three aircraft will form a vital component of the nation's future ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) capabilities."
Royal Air Force crews have been training on the aircraft in the United States since 2011, logging more than 32,000 hours and 1,800 sorties.
All three aircraft ordered from Boeing are expected to be operational by 2017.