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Tracking Air Force One And The Assets Supporting President Biden’s Visit To Israel Today

Biden Israel
Some screenshots from the Israeli PM video, Flightradar24 and ADSBExchange showing the tracks of Air Force One and its supporting assets. (Image credit: The Aviationist using screenshots from FR24, ADSBExchange and Israeli PM video)

The visit of the US President to Israel was supported by several assets and prompted an increase in the surveillance, with many ISR assets active in the area well before the arrival of Air Force One. Some of them could be tracked online.

U.S. President Joe Biden arrived today in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and show solidarity to one of the US’ closest allies in the region. The visit became even more delicate as it happened just after an explosion in a Gaza hospital reportedly killed hundreds of people, with Israel and Hamas rejecting responsibility and anti-Israel and anti-US protests sparked in the Middle East.

Flight tracking websites once again provided some insights into the forces deployed to support Biden’s trip to Tel Aviv. Let’s have a look at the assets tracking online, remembering that many other aircraft were probably operating in the area (for instance, those eventually launched by USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier currently in the eastern Mediterranean Sea) although they were not visible on or

As always, the VC-25A carrying the POTUS was accompanied by a large number of support and surveillance assets.

At least three C-17 cargo aircraft arrived just before Air Force One, transporting additional support equipment and personnel.

A C-32A deployed to Ramstein AB but another one (SAM908 #99-0004) was already on the ground at Tel Aviv by the time the Air Force One touched down in Israel.

An E-4B Nightwatch deployed to Souda Bay, Crete, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The E-4B is a modified B747-200 that serves as National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) providing a flying command, control and communications center to direct nuclear (and conventional) forces, by receiving, verifying and relaying EAM (Emergency Action Messages).

For this reason, the E-4B is considered a “doomsday plane”: in the event of a nuclear war, a terrorist attack, and so on, the U.S. Air Force’s four E-4B planes based at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska would be responsible to keep the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other top personalities alive whilst POTUS would be aboard the Air Force One.

One aircraft is usually airborne every 12 hours, with another one ready for departure with a 5-minute notice. In any case, an E-4B always supports Air Force One’s trips abroad.

In the meanwhile, multiple Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance assets were active in the airspace off the Israeli coast.

Some of the aircraft closely watching Israel during Biden’s visit could be tracked online. Among them, three peculiar US intelligence assets: a U.S. Air Force RC-135V Rivet Joint, a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon and a U.S. Navy EP-3E ARIES II. While these aircraft are no strangers in that area, it is non usual to see all three of them patrolling the area and clearly visible on flight tracking websites.

The RC-135V Rivet Joint is the primary SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) asset of the U.S. Air Force, which can be seen regularly flying in all sensible areas around the world. The Rivet Joint’s on-board sensor suite allows the mission crew to detect, identify and geolocate signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. The mission crew can then forward gathered information in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint’s extensive communications suite.

The P-8A Poseidon, while its primary roles are maritime patrol, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, is a powerful ISR platform thanks to its synthetic aperture radar, electro and optical infrared sensor turret and increased acoustic capability. Because of this, the aircraft can be seen performing daily missions in contested areas, such as the Black Sea and the coast of Syria.

The EP-3E ARIES II, a highly modified version of the P-3C Orion ASW aircraft, is a Multi-Intelligence reconnaissance aircraft that can provide commanders with near real-time tactical SIGINT  and full motion video intelligence. With sensitive receivers and high-gain dish antennas, the EP-3E exploits a wide range of electronic emissions from deep within targeted territory.

The crew fuses the collected intelligence along with off-board data and disseminates the collaborated information for direct threat warning, indications and warnings, information dominance, battle space situational awareness, suppression of enemy air defenses, destruction of enemy air-defense, anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare applications.

The surveillance assets remained in the area as the Air Force One departed from Tel Aviv shortly before 15.30GMT.

All the supporting assets could be tracked shortly thereafter leaving Israel as well.

And, in case you believe flight tracking breaks OPSEC, don’t forget that “if you are watching it, it is because they want you to know they are there.”

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.
About Stefano D’Urso
Stefano D’Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he’s also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.

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