The RC-135V/W is the USAF's standard airborne SIGINT platform. Its sensor suite allows the mission crew to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission crew can then forward gathered information in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint's extensive communications suite. The interior seats 34 people, including the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and airborne systems engineers. All Rivet Joint airframe and mission systems modifications are performed by L-3 Communications in Greenville, Texas, under the oversight of the Air Force Materiel Command.
All RC-135s are assigned to Air Combat Command. The RC-135 is permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska., and operated by the 55th Wing, using various forward deployment locations worldwide. http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=121 Under the "BIG SAFARI" program name, RC-135Vs were upgraded from the RC-135C "Big Team" configuration, itself a mission modified RC-135B (the first version delivered). RC-135Ws were originally delivered as C-135B transports, and all were modified from RC-135Ms.
By kjfitz @ 2009-03-14 12:59:12