RC-135A/W RIVET JOINT
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
Mission

The RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft is an extensively modified C-135. The aircraft's modifications are primarily related to its on-board sensor suite, which 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 32 people, including the cockpit crew, electronic warfare officers, intelligence operators and in-flight maintenance technicians. 

Background

The current RC-135 fleet is the latest iteration of modifications to this pool of 135 aircraft going back to 1964. Initially employed by Strategic Air Command to satisfy nationally tasked intelligence collection requirements, the RC-135 fleet has also participated in every sizable armed conflict
involving U.S. assets during its tenure. RC-135s were present supporting operations in Vietnam, the Mediterranean for Operation El Dorado Canyon, Grenada for Operation Urgent Fury, Panama for Operation Just Cause, and Southwest Asia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. RC-135s have maintained a constant presence in both Southwest Asia and in the area of the
Balkans since the early 1990s. 

All RC-135s are assigned to Air Combat Command. The RC-135 is permanently based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. and operated by the 55th Wing, using various forward deployment locations worldwide.
RC-135U COMBAT SENT
Specifications

Primary Function: Reconnaissance 
Contractor: Boeing Aerospace Company 
Engines: 4 Pratt-Whitney TF33-P-9 or TF33-P-5 Turbofan Engines 
Thrust: 16,000 pounds per engine 
Dimensions: Length 140ft 6in, Span 131ft, Height 42ft. 
Max Takeoff Weight: Gross 299,000 lbs. 
Accommodations: 4 Flight crew, and mission essential personnel. 
Performance: 500 mph, Range unlimited. 


Another in the Pit-Road 1/700 Metal Plane series is this cast metal Boeing RC-135U reconnaissance aircraft. The top image shows an RC-135V/W Rivit Joint version, while the second image is the RC-135 U Combat Sent version. Slight tail and wingtip differences exists as well. The latter is the aircraft depicted in this kit, but by building up the nose a bit, the newer varient could be modeled as well.
This kit includes one cast metal aircraft with separate vertical tail section, engines, and landing gear. The casting is clean and only a light amount of cleanup will be needed. 
click images
to enlarge
The instructions are basic but show everything you need to assemble these aircraft. Painting instructions are provided for the early two tone white/grey USAF paint scheme, but the newer overall grey scheme might be easier to do. 

A decal sheet supplies the insignia and other markings to complete the aircraft. They are generic decals, but the main markings are there. If readable, the tail number should be either 14847 or 14849 for the U-model.

There are many diorama possibilities with this aircraft. As for me I am considering a 1/700 Airshow diorama to display this Aircraft along with some of the other Pit-Road aircraft I have collected.

For more information refer to "Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker - More than just a Tanker" by Robert S Hopkins III, published by Aerofax, ISBN 1-85780-069-9. 

Thanks to Tim Jacobs, MSgt (ret) former COMBAT SENT signal processor for tech details.

Conclusions:

This kit is priced at 1,500 Yen About $14.39 USD. Check out the entire Pit-Road Metal Plane line on their website with online ordering capability and speedy delivery.



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