Military Capabilities

USAF begins surveillance flights off Venezuela

13 March 2019

US surveillance aircraft have been detected operating off the coast of Venezuela by open-source tracking of their transponder signals.

Boeing RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft of the US Air Force (USAF) have been tracked patrolling off Venezuela on at least five occasions since 23 February, while a Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II SIGINT platform was identified on 8 March. These aircraft had their ADS-B and other transponders transmitting during their missions, which took place in the southern part of the Caribbean off the northern coast of Venezuela.

At least one of the RC-135s appeared to be supported by a USAF Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker air-to-air refuelling aircraft, according to the tracking data.

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