September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept. 23, 2013)
Rivet Joint Aircraft
The Sunday Times reported that the RAF's new Rivet Joint 'spy planes' will be painted in US Air Force colours as part of a money-saving scheme MOD has agreed with the US. The paper also flags up concerns about the UK's 'reliance' on the US for such 'a sensitive capability'.
Rivet Joint provides the UK with a greatly advanced capability and it is nonsense to suggest that in joining with the US on this capability and adhering to a common standard the UK will be at a disadvantage. In fact, this close co-operation enhances our shared intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability.
MOD decided to configure our Rivet Joint aircraft to as close a common standard with the US Air Force as is possible; this has significant support cost benefits through the life of the aircraft.
Major servicing will be conducted in the US at a facility that has the appropriate protection to handle the security classification of the aircraft. Day-to-day maintenance will be done by RAF personnel in the UK supported by contractors provided as part of the US/UK cooperative agreement.