US plans to replace its “doomsday planes”

fleet of doomsday planes The United States is moving toward a historic renewal. Americans are moving ahead with their plans to remove prominent figures Boeing E-4BWho have been in service for 50 years.

While the Boeing E-4B, built on the basis of the 747-200, is not the only doomed aircraft on American order, it is the most infamous. After all, he’s the one who should be in charge Protecting the President and/or his successors in the event of nuclear war,

But despite the updates and improvements implemented on the four Boeing E-4Bs designed to withstand such an apocalyptic scenario, it is a fact that their retirement is getting closer. That is why in 2020 the United States Air Force launched a request to the aeronautical industry to present projects to create new doomed aircraft, with the aim of entering service in the early 2030s.

In early 2022, the USAF issued a series of recommendations that manufacturers should keep in mind. However, he did not mention specific timelines for the development of a replacement for the Boeing E-4B assigned to the 595th Command and Control Group operating at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

However, this year the project to create an “Airborne Survival Operations Center”, which is the formal name for the Doomsday planes, has received a significant financial boost. In its fiscal year 2024 budget, the United States Air Force requested 889 million dollars To allocate this initiative. This is a huge jump compared to the $98 million invested in this work during the previous financial period.

The United States is working to renew its fleet of doomed aircraft

The United States is working to renew its fleet of doomed aircraft.  Boeing E-4BThe United States is working to renew its fleet of doomed aircraft.  Boeing E-4B
Photo: United States Air Force.

A curious fact about the renewal process of the US doomed aircraft fleet Boeing will not be taken into account, A very surprising fact, considering that the Seattle firm has historically been in charge of developing different versions of these aircraft.

The first doomed aircraft under the command of the US government and military was a modified Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. While the Navy has its own aircraft of this style, the Boeing E-6B; However it is already working to change this with a development led by Lockheed Martin.

as reported reuters In late 2023, USAF eliminates Boeing from competition to replace E-4B Because he refused to sign a fixed price contract, This is because the corporation was already recording billions of dollars in losses in various government projects in which it had to bear expenses in excess of the limits established in the agreements.

Sierra Nevada Corporation It is the only company that remains in the race to develop the Air Force’s next doomed aircraft. However, this does not ensure which manufacturer has been selected to develop and produce the aircraft that will take over from Boeing’s E-4B. USAF will intend Award a new contract this year, It remains to be seen whether this ultimately succeeds.

very expensive air castles

Doomsday planes entered the scene at the hottest point of the Cold War. In the case of the Boeing E-4B, its specific characteristics are kept under complete secrecy for obvious reasons. However, it is known that all its windows, except those windows cockpit, are sealed and closed. It has special thermal and nuclear protection and is also capable of withstanding the effects of electromagnetic pulse.

Aircraft are said to use mostly analog communication equipment to avoid vulnerabilities. Of course, officials never confirmed that this was true. They have a capacity of 112 passengers and a flight range of up to 12 hours, although they can also refuel while in the air. In theory, They will be able to fly uninterrupted for a whole week, However, the longest test conducted was 35 hours of continuous training.

Although their need to protect the US high command in the event of a nuclear war scenario has not been discussed, doomsday aircraft have not been untouched by controversies, In 1998 it was reported that the cost of each Air Force Boeing E-4B exceeded $220 million; That’s more than $414 million by 2024 when adjusted for inflation. While in 2016 it was revealed that the cost per flight hour of this model was the highest in the entire US military fleet, close to $160,000 ($204,000 adjusted in 2024).

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