Doomsday Aircraft Boeing E-4B


First E-4B during EMR tests, May 24, 1979


In the event of a full-blown conflict, including with nuclear missile attacks, developed countries have specialized air command posts for senior political and military leadership. Since the beginning of the seventies, the Boeing E-4A / B has been in service with the US Air Force since the early seventies. Despite their considerable age, they still remain an important element of national security.

Responding to threats


At the peak of the Cold War in the United States, several types of airborne command posts (CPS) with different tasks were developed and built. In 1965, the VKP EC-135J NEACP (National Emergency Airborne Command Post), intended for the country's top leadership, entered service, but already in the early seventies they decided to replace it with a newer and more advanced machine.


E-4B in flight

In February 1973, the Boeing company and a number of manufacturers of electronic equipment received an order from the Pentagon to create an aircraft with the code “481B NEACP”, later designated as E-4A. It was proposed to do it on the basis of the wide-body airliner Boeing 747-200. On board the CPSU was to accommodate equipment from the older EC-135J. The resulting command post retained the required capabilities, but was superior to its predecessor in flight data.

The first order included the construction of two VKP E-4A, then new orders appeared. By the fall of 1973, it was planned to put into operation six cars, another one was intended for testing. However, in the end, only four VKP were ordered, and the latter was to be built according to the updated E-4B project. It could be distinguished from “A” aircraft by the characteristic casing of the radio antennas on the top of the fuselage.

The first of the future E-4A took off in July 1973. Already in 1974 he was put on duty. The construction of the following machines was delayed and completed only in 1978. A year later, they passed the fourth All-Union Communist Party, carried out under the new project E-4B.


Refueling in flight, view from the tanker

Curiously, the E-4A / B project turned out to be the most expensive in stories US Air Force. The average cost of one car reached $ 250 million - more than 1,3 billion at current prices. This record was broken only at the end of the next decade with the advent of the B-2A bomber.

In the early eighties, the equipment was sent for repair and modernization. From these procedures, all planes returned in a “B” configuration. In 1994, the aircraft received the new designation NAOC (National Airborne Operations Center). In addition, they received the unofficial nickname Nightwatch ("Night Watch" - in honor of the famous painting by Rembrandt).

Doomsday Equipment


The E-4B is built on the basis of the serial Boeing 747-200 and retains its main components, although the glider had to be redone during the re-equipment. Also, a power plant and a number of general aircraft systems were replaced. As a result, the E-4B is close to the base vehicle in its flight performance. An important difference in this context is the availability of in-flight refueling equipment. Thanks to her, the E-4B can remain in the air for up to 7 days, and this period is limited mainly by the reserves of resources for the crew.


cockpit

E-4B retained the three-deck fuselage layout. The top is given to flight crews; on it are a cabin and cabins for relaxation. On the site of the main passenger compartment “747-200” there is a kitchen compartment, a salon for top officials of the state with all the necessary equipment, a conference room and a meeting room, a communications compartment and operator rooms. In the tail there are rooms for resting duty shifts. The lower deck is dedicated to accommodate a variety of equipment and individual jobs.

According to well-known data, E-4B aircraft carry a full range of electronic equipment for controlling the armed forces and are adapted to work in the most difficult conditions. In particular, avionics is still built on "old" components and devices, since modern "glass cabins" are less resistant to the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion and other threats. Other measures were taken to increase survivability and ensure the safety of the crew and passengers.


One of the salons for dignitaries

Special equipment provides communication and reception of data from all sources in the armed forces of the United States and NATO, as well as the processing of incoming information with subsequent issuance to the command. Then, the development and transmission of commands to units and units is carried out. Particular attention is paid to communications and the management of strategic nuclear forces. In particular, for interaction with submarines, a produced antenna with a length of 8 km is provided. To solve the problems of communication and data processing on board the Night Watch, there are 29 automated workstations used by staff officers.

Depending on the tasks, the E-4B can take on board from 60 to 100 people - the flight crew, technical staff, headquarters and high command. Comfortable conditions are provided for the crew and passengers. Perhaps a long stay in the air with the provision of rest and nutrition.

Airplanes on duty


The first VKP E-4A went on duty in 1974, and soon new ones joined it. By the beginning of the eighties, the work of the command could provide three cars of the version "A" and one "B". Soon, such a disunification was corrected by modernizing older boards.


Staircase between decks

NEACP / NAOC aircraft were on duty at various airbases. One of them was constantly present at the Andrews airfield (Camp Springs, PCs. Maryland), in the immediate vicinity of the main US military and civilian centers - 10 km from Washington. According to the state, one of the CPSU was to be in full readiness awaiting an order to take off. Immediately after the arrival of dignitaries, it was possible to fly into the air. This order was maintained until 1994.

Also, E-4B along with other special boards participate in foreign trips of the country's leadership. Thanks to this, the President or the Minister of Defense can at any time take a place at the CPSU and make strategic decisions. In addition, the use of NAOC as a vehicle for the leadership of the Ministry of Defense simplifies the management of the armed forces.

Since 1994, E-4B aircraft can be used as temporary command posts in civilian areas. An airplane can arrive in a natural disaster or other disaster zone and perform control functions until a full-fledged ground control tower is deployed. However, such opportunities were used only a few times.

Not yet the end


Aircraft Boeing E-4B are quite old, and even constant repairs do not allow to continue to operate forever. In early 2006, the US Department of Defense announced its intention to decommission obsolete aircraft and replace them with new ones by 2009. However, in February 2007 plans were reduced, and now only one was to be disposed of.


E-4B at the airport of Bogota during a visit of a delegation of the US leadership, October 2007

Finally, in May 2007, the new Secretary of Defense ordered the E-4B to remain in service. The reasons for this decision were simple and understandable: none of the new CPSUs can perform all the same functions as the Night Watch. In the future, the topic of cancellation of the E-4B was not raised. The operation of such equipment continues to this day and will not stop in the near future.

According to well-known data, the technical condition and regular maintenance allow you to continue using the E-4B without any restrictions. After 2020-22 some minor restrictions are possible. The glider resource will be enough for active operation for another 12-15 years.

In 2015, work began on the modernization of aircraft. According to open data, the complex of communication facilities was supplemented with modern systems. Due to this, new communication capabilities are provided, resistance to various influences, etc. is increased.


One minute before take-off

Key element of defense


E-4A / B air command posts were created at the height of the Cold War, taking into account the main threats of the time. Given the risk of exchanging nuclear missiles, the armed forces of the opposing states needed a reliable and stable system of command and control of the armies, including SNF. The answer to this was the emergence of various specialized complexes, systems and equipment models - one of them was the American VKP E-4A / B. In the future, the situation in the world changed, but the air command posts remained in service.

Nearly half a century has passed since the start of duty of NEACP / NAOC aircraft, but they still retain their place in the US Air Force due to their unique capabilities and the virtual absence of alternatives. The E-4B continues to be an essential element of strategic management systems in the US Armed Forces, and their replacement is not yet in sight.
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  1. KCA
    KCA 21 May 2020 18: 24 New
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    Interestingly, but do they have a long-wave telegraph connection? It seems to me that in the event of a full-blown nuclear conflict, only it will work and will
    1. NEXUS 21 May 2020 18: 28 New
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      Quote: KCA
      It seems to me that in the event of a full-blown nuclear conflict, only it will work and will

      Yeah, the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds with the Morgans are completely down to hit the lands that the mountains of wealth bring to them. I'm about Russia, if that ...
      1. KCA
        KCA 21 May 2020 18: 32 New
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        Then what is the meaning of these flying launchers at the price of a bunker buried by 600 meters? Cut it?
        1. NEXUS 21 May 2020 18: 37 New
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          Quote: KCA
          Then what is the meaning of these flying launchers at the price of a bunker buried by 600 meters? Cut it?

          No ... good show, better than any money. It must be shown to the American electorate that "we are preparing, defending ourselves against the Russian Mordor" ...
          You will study the question of how much American capital is in the lands and industries on the territory of the Russian Federation and most importantly, what kind of people they are. Very surprised.
          If all these Morgans and Rothschilds wanted a war, it would have happened in a variant of a nuclear fur animal long ago. But they need this land and they need WORKERS on this earth.
    2. aftbreeze 21 May 2020 19: 00 New
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      Well, if there is a towed antenna 8 km long, then there is a long-wave communication!
      1. KCA
        KCA 21 May 2020 19: 09 New
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        It seems that the truth about the full program was puzzled, 8km is ADD for communication with the nuclear submarines
        1. aftbreeze 21 May 2020 19: 10 New
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          I would say exclusively with the Premier League!
          1. KCA
            KCA 21 May 2020 19: 16 New
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            We still have these for communication with the "Poseidons" :-)
            1. aftbreeze 21 May 2020 19: 20 New
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              In fact, ADD is just designed for communication with submarines, since they have a greater penetrating ability compared to HF, including deep into the oceans ...
              1. KCA
                KCA 21 May 2020 19: 32 New
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                As if in the course, that's why he wrote, and not with a greater ability, but the only frequency of radio waves that passes through water
                1. aftbreeze 21 May 2020 19: 36 New
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                  Still, not a frequency, but a range from 3 to 30 KHz!
                  1. KCA
                    KCA 21 May 2020 19: 47 New
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                    Well, yes, it was incorrectly expressed, of course, the frequency range <30 kHz
                  2. Free wind 22 May 2020 04: 25 New
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                    Not the frequency but the length is from 1 km to 10 km, it is a range of long waves, before all the scales on all radios were marked in meters. A person hears from 10-20 Hz, (lower infrasound), to 18-22 thousand hertz, KHz, which is higher than ultrasound. ultrasound range from 20 kHz to 109 kHz. The radio frequency range starts from about 300-400 KHz - 3-4 GHz! And not 3 KHz, otherwise it turns out that my mother-in-law is deceased, screeching in the radio range. I do not think that the length of the antenna is an indicator of the radio range. Long waves, a range of radio hooligans, well, no one had any, an antenna with a length of 5 kilometers.
                    1. aftbreeze 24 May 2020 17: 09 New
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                      You're not right! Radio waves include electromagnetic waves with frequencies from 0,03 Hz to 3 THz. At what frequencies did your mother-in-law scream - I don’t know. And since the 60s of the last century, all receivers and transmitters are marked only in Hz-KHz-MHz. And no other way! And then, the closer the antenna size to the wavelength - the better (more efficient) the return of the transmitter itself!
  2. engineer74 21 May 2020 18: 26 New
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    The average cost of one car reached $ 250 million - more than 1,3 billion at current prices.

    It’s a pity they didn’t change ... There would be a new record! wassat
  3. I remember the movie "2012". There the truth was flying away on the mri, but anyway, what is it like to see the world crumble below and not know if your plane will land? ...
  4. KVU-NSVD 21 May 2020 18: 50 New
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    Finally, in May 2007, the new Secretary of Defense ordered the E-4B to remain in service. The reasons for this decision were simple and clear: none of the new CPSUs can perform all the same functions,
    A strange situation, there is money, advanced electronic and aviation technologies, too, but they cannot create a replacement for control aircraft with equal capabilities for top officials. I think white is still not in the absence of opportunities, but in the desire to exploit it "before the melt," especially since the functionality fully complies with the requirements. The same thing applies to the “presidential helicopters” - they are also from about the same era.
    . In particular, avionics is still built on "old" components and devices, since modern "glass cabins" are less resistant to the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion and other threats
    It’s a cool passage, but I also think it’s not a matter of stability, but they don’t want to change the old equipment’s great reliability and do not need to change it - according to the principle “proven is better than fashionable”
    To interact with submarines, a produced antenna with a length of 8 km is provided.
    I did not know, it would be interesting to look at the device. PS Is it interesting there are two crews or three? PS2 How much does he on the old elemental base of energy, given the increased comfort for senior management PS3 Floor so many bathrooms on it? repeat
    1. mark2 21 May 2020 20: 30 New
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      Strange situation

      and what is strange? The strange thing is that no one here criticizes the high elves for using the old elemental base for avionics. But he criticizes Russian avionics, which is also on the old element base.
      but I also think the point is not in stability, but in the great reliability of old equipment

      I would say more. The point is the great unreliability of all these modern digital technologies, which are designed to work in normal temperature and humidity conditions, for the strictly allotted number of hours. More reliable than the transistor and the electronic lamp did not come up with anything.
      How many bathrooms are there?

      Yes, how many sortings do not bet, and if an adult mess starts, they’ll do it right in the pants smile
      1. 2 Level Advisor 21 May 2020 20: 44 New
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        What does it have to do with some high elves and our electronics? Do we really have the doctrine provided for a similar aircraft with such a filling? And who is criticizing our avionics in this article? -I didn’t notice .. Well, as for reliability, you’re right, but on the other hand, now what to switch to 50x technology? UAZ 469, Mig 21, etc. they are any more reliable than modern ones ..
        1. mark2 21 May 2020 21: 10 New
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          Yeah, there is. IL-86VzPU, product "65c", according to the classification of NATO: called Maxdome.
          In this article, no one criticizes, criticizes in articles devoted to comparisons of Russian technology and American. I remember there was an article on radar for exterminators. The weight was indicated there, so how much bile was poured onto the fact that our radar was heavier than the American one. they say on lamps, but on transistors. and so what on lamps or transistors. the radar should work, and for an airplane weighing 57 tons, 80 or 180 kg does not matter
          UAZ-469 and Mig-21 are more reliable and they will end the war, no matter how successful or not successful.
          1. SovAr238A 23 May 2020 16: 20 New
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            You cannot understand what is the difference between the equipment for a combat fighter and for a piece doomsday aircraft?
            A combat aircraft, to which every kilogram is important, and a huge airliner, in which there is no difference between 500 people in it or 550 ...
            1. mark2 23 May 2020 16: 28 New
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              Did you write this just to say something? on each combat aircraft you can’t hang more than what the designers provided. And the designers, designing the aircraft, initially lay the weight of all that is its equipment. It’s still not possible to hang or shove more on it anyway. If you want more - this is another plane and it will also take into account the weight of the radar by 180 kg.
              1. SovAr238A 23 May 2020 16: 35 New
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                Quote: mark2
                Did you write this just to say something? on each combat aircraft you can’t hang more than what the designers provided. And the designers, designing the aircraft, initially lay the weight of all that is its equipment. It’s still not possible to hang or shove more on it anyway. If you want more - this is another plane and it will also take into account the weight of the radar by 180 kg.

                You probably don’t know that western planes are modern, the last 50 are designed for engines and radars. They have such a design school.
                And if initially the weight of the equipment is more, then the plane goes significantly more expensive both in production and in operation.
                The engine life is less and all that is related.
  5. Undecim 21 May 2020 19: 39 New
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    For those who are interested in what the aircraft is equipped with.
  6. bk0010 21 May 2020 22: 12 New
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    And now, after the story of the diving Boeings, I’m afraid to change, probably.
  7. opus 21 May 2020 23: 39 New
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    Quote: Ryabov Kirill
    Doomsday Aircraft Boeing E-4B

    without even reading the text = 100% guessing game -genosse Ryabov

    let's chew?
    If the TopVar state corporation could be qualified as RosPil for the letters of the advertising budget ...
  8. 2 Level Advisor 22 May 2020 00: 02 New
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    Quote: mark2
    UAZ-469 and Mig-21 are more reliable and they will end the war, no matter how successful or not successful.

    can not argue hi
    1. SovAr238A 23 May 2020 16: 24 New
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      You bet.
      If you know what and how it works in the production system ...
      469 when was the last time you saw it?
      There is only an old body.
      A new engine with a bunch of electronics.
      handouts, boxes - Indian and Chinese.
      Bridges think so too.
      If you think it’s easy to start doing it all over again, then you are mistaken.
      The war will end faster.

      The same goes for the Mig-21.
      1. 2 Level Advisor 23 May 2020 16: 38 New
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        this is an allegory .. about the fact that high technologies after nuclear strikes quickly exhaust themselves and return to old, proven simple technologies .. Unless of course the war continues .. Americans, for example, think for this reason that many old, many old aircraft / ships are stored years in the crap ...
  9. Tektor 22 May 2020 11: 13 New
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    A worthy goal for the Vanguard. And if there is no need for an urgent defeat of this goal, then the Petrel will come down.
    1. SovAr238A 23 May 2020 16: 24 New
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      Oh, and the level of knowledge ... And that means development ...