December Lecture 2015

“The Boeing RC-135V/W Rivet Joint”

Thursday 17th December 2015

Lecture Starts at 6.00 pm

By Wg Cdr Garry Crosby, RAF Ret’d

Venue: Conference Room, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, Cambridge Airport, Newmarket Road, Cambridge CB5 8RX (SATNAV: CB5 8RY)

All visitors must bring their passport along to the lecture in order to be granted entry to the venue (Marshall ADG). In addition to this, any non British visitors must also supply a copy of their passport in advance of the lecture.
Please could we ask that you preregister by emailing Aaron Burns ( including your nationality and if you are non British please provide a scan copy of your passport.

Parking is available in Cambridge Airport Visitors Car Park (including Disabled Parking in front of ‘Arrival and Departure’ entrance).
Access to Conference Room is via Cambridge Airport ‘Arrival and Departure’ entrance situated in Visitors Car Park.

In June 2007, the then CAS, ACM Sir Glenn Torpy, wrote to General Mike ‘Buzz’ Moseley to thank him for attending the RUSI Air Power conference. In the final paragraph of that note, Sir Glenn raised the idea that, as costs were escalating in the programme to replace the Nimrod R1 SIGINT platform, the RIVET JOINT option was ‘back in the frame’.

Six years and 5 months later, in Nov 2013, a UK RC-135W RIVET JOINT aircraft landed at RAF Waddington, the first of three for the RAF. The programme to replace the Nimrod R1 was called Project HELIX, which started well, but was swept aside when Moseley wrote back to CAS supporting the UK acquisition of RIVET JOINT.

What followed was an extraordinary period of cooperation, reflecting decades of shared intelligence effort between the UK and US. This presentation is about the human aspects as well as the programmatic, about the cultural, as well as the technical – it is about how 51 Squadron apparently disappeared when the Nimrod R1 was retired in 2011, but actually worked as hard as it ever had to cultivate the relationships with the USAF that would lead to unprecedented access, training and operational synergy in the coming years.

‘Co-Manning’ was the name given to the period of ‘hibernation’ that 51 Squadron entered in 2011 and this presentation outlines the tremendous challenges that were faced and overcome, the exceptional fortitude with which the USAF handled the British invasion of Offutt Air Force Base and ultimately, the extraordinary operational benefits that were accrued. It will begin, however, with a brief overview of the history of airborne SIGINT in the UK and US, particular where cooperation was evident. The presentation will move on to the role of the Nimrod R1 since the end of the Cold War and take a look at how the programme to replace it morphed into the acquisition of the RC-135 RIVET JOINT.

Mulled Wine & Mince Pies to follow.