With ‘God’s-eye view,’ secretive surveillance flights keep close watch on Russia and Ukraine

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Russian A-50 Plane


Rivet Joints are particularly capable spy planes, and Russian authorities “really hate” their ability to snoop on the Ukraine war, said Justin Bronk, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute defense think tank in London. As well as gathering “real-time intelligence that theoretically could be shared with Ukrainian partners,” the planes also furnish “fantastic” insight about “how Russian forces actually operate in a real war,” Bronk said in a phone interview. “So of course, the Russians are furious,” he said.