The Russia Ukraine conflict has in the course of time thrown up a full bouquet of variables—platforms & sensors, being deployed by the NATO forces. Even without going into the war zone and by just observing, one can extract some interesting information. The following are some of the NATO platforms that have been observed in the vicinity of the Black Sea. Some of their capabilities are listed below.
Boeing E-3A Sentry
The Boeing E-3 Sentry is an American Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft (AEW&C). This platform has been developed by Boeing as a derivative of the 707 platform. It is an extremely potent all-weather surveillance, command, control, and communications platform, and is used by the United States Air Force, French Air and Space Force and of course NATO. These are the NATO forces; it’s additionally used by Other Countries as well. The AWACS can be easily identified by the dish mounted above its fuselage.
Boeing E-3a sentry
P-8A, Poseidon aircraft
The P-8A, Poseidon aircraft is a Boeing, 737–800/900 platform, modified for surveillance, tracking, antisubmarine warfare, anti surface ship warfare, search and rescue etc. It is flown by the United States Navy , New Zealand air force, Australian Air Force amongst others. Unlike regular transport, aircraft like the one E3A Sentry, the P-8A is capable of offensive operations also, it has the capability to launch missiles, and torpedos. It also carries Sonar Bouys for anti submarine operations. US operates almost 125 of such platforms, all by the US Navy, a total of 155 platforms of this type have been sold around the world. This platform has no signature dish mounted above its fuselage unlike the E-3A Sentry aircraft.
You may watch more on P-8A Poseidon here
RC-135V/W Rivet Joint
Rivet Joint is a primarily Reconnaissance Aircraft. It’s been in service since the 1960s. In a highly modernised avatar which allows the mission crew to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission crew can use the airplane’s tremendous capabilities then forward gathered information in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint’s extensive communications suite. This platform has participated in almost every operation since the Vietnam conflict.
The above is the Rivet Joint in the Scandinavian sector soaking up all available electronic emissions. These emissions include communications, radar emissions and other transmissions.
Boeing RC-135W Rivet joint
They also deploying sizeable number of extremely potent assets to provide real-time situation updates to the Ukrainian forces. It is also apparent that NATO forces have sizeable data downlink facilities in Ukraine to rapidly assimilate all the possible information, without any delay. The fact that these platforms are visible to common folk, is not at all surprising. They remain visible only on the Western edge of the Black Sea, before going Dark.