A so-called “doomsday plane” — which was designed to serve as an airborne United States command center in the event of a nuclear war – was seen flying over Great Britain this week.
According to the Mirror, the E-4B aircraft joined President Joe Biden’s convoy on his trip to Europe this week. After departing from Washington, D.C., the aircraft flew over the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel before circling a region north of Cambridge.
The United States Air Force’s website explains that the E-4B’s mission is to serves “as the National Airborne Operations Center and is a key component of the National Military Command System for the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
“In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centers, the aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders and coordinate actions by civil authorities,” the website continues.
The plane is described as “a militarized version of the Boeing 747-200, is a four-engine, swept-wing, long-range high-altitude airplane capable of refueling in flight.” It features a main deck that is divided into six areas, including a command work area, conference room, briefing room, an operations team work area, communications area and rest area.
The aircraft can seat up to 112 people, including a joint-service operations team, Air Force flight crew, maintenance and security component, communications team and selected augmentees.
The E-4B is also protected against electromagnetic pulses and includes an electrical system that can support “advanced electronics and a wide variety of communications equipment.”
An advanced satellite communications system provides worldwide communication for senior leaders through the airborne operations center. Other improvements include nuclear and thermal effects shielding, acoustic control, an improved technical control facility and an upgraded air-conditioning system for cooling electrical components,” the Air Force website states.
The “doomsday plane” was spotted just days after Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby condemned Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s comments that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not ruled out using nuclear weapons if Russia is faced with an “existential threat,” reported by Forbes.
“I mean, as you’ve heard, the Secretary say many times, it’s the kind of rhetoric that’s been out there on the use of — potential use of nuclear weapons or changes in nuclear posture is dangerous,” Kirby said. “And it’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act. So we’ve been very clear about that.”