Here at FighterSweep, we like to acknowledge aviation milestones as they pass. We may be heavy on the tactical side of things, but we in no way discount or scoff the importance of assets with vital missions that most times provide little to no mention.

The RC-135V/W Rivet Joint is such an aircraft, fulfilling an important role in the United States Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance aparatus. Rivet is yet another fantastic aircraft based on the venerable Boeing 707, and features an elonged nose and various other humps, bumps, and antennae integral to its SIGnals INTelligence (SIGINT) mission.

The Rivet Joint is about to reach 25 years of continuous service. Twenty-five years ago today, Americans were told the U.S. was going to war on behalf of Kuwait, thanks to Saddam Hussein’s invasion. Iraqi forces crossed the border on 2 August, and six days later, an RC-135 aircraft flew the first sortie over the AOR, flying from Greece and landing in Saudi Arabia on 9 August.

A star was born, but one largely invisible as other assets providing kinetic effects and positive influence to the Iraqi military captured the limelight during that conflict. Though her missions and specific capabilites are classified, the aircraft and crew are an absolute powerhouse for the Combined Forces Air Component Commander.

Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
Photo Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons

“Essentially, we have been a nation at war since the Rivet Joint first began patrolling the skies.  Over that quarter-century, the capability provided has evolved to play a critical role in a number of AORs,” the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander said.  “It’s impressive than an Eisenhower-era airframe continues to contribute at such a significant level.”

“The Rivet Joint is truly a national asset, providing effects with many more years to come,” he said.  “Fighting without our ISR assets would be like living without one of our senses.  I am humbled and proud to serve alongside the professionals of the 379th AEW and the 763rd ERS.”

Congratulations, Rivet! We wouldn’t have the capabilities we do without you and those that serve your purpose!