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UK and US agree Airseeker support extension to 2035

28th October 2021 - 11:58 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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A RC-135W Rivet Joint lands at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire (Photo: UK MoD)

Airseeker support has been extended to 2035 following an agreement between the UK and US.

The UK has announced it has extended a support agreement out to 2035 with the US for three RAF Airseeker electronic surveillance aircraft – designated RC-135W Rivet Joint – in a deal worth £970 million.

The agreement covers maintenance, spare parts, engineering support, technical data and access to capability updates, according to a Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) statement.

Airseeker support falls under the Rivet Joint Cooperative Programme which had been due to lapse in 2025.

‘The Rivet Joint Cooperative Programme is a fantastic example of the UK/US special relationship and the support for our Airseeker fleet has been extended for a further decade,’ said Jeremy Quin, minister for defence procurement.

‘With a commitment to invest almost £1 billion, this agreement will ensure that we, and our allies, can benefit from the aircraft’s impressive surveillance capability for years to come.’

The aircraft, operated from RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, by 51 Squadron have been used in counterinsurgency missions in the Middle East relying on its sensor capabilities to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, DE&S noted.

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