Nuke-proof US ‘Doomsday Plane’
Spotted Flying Over Nebraska
Joshua Hawkins / BGR.com
(March 4, 2022) — Reports have surfaced that the US Air Force’s “doomsday plane” was spotted running a brief training mission at the end of February. The mission ran for four hours and took place following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia’s nuclear forces were on high alert. The “doomsday plane” is a modified Boeing 747 built to withstand a nuclear war.
British news site iNews was the first to report on the spotting. The modified Boeing 747 was spotted taking off from a US Air Force base in Nebraska. It then completed a four-and-a-half-hour flight towards the city of Chicago before landing once more. iNews also reports that the doomsday plane was accompanied by several early-warning jets during the training mission.
The government renamed the plane to a Boeing E-4B following its modifications. It cost around $200 million to design. The doomsday plane is part of a group of aircraft known as the Nightwatch. The US military has maintained the Nightwatch since the 1970s.
The purpose of the doomsday plane is to serve as a moving command point in the event of nuclear war. Because it’s able to withstand a nuclear attack, the military could use it to command ground and air forces without the commanders being in one spot for too long.
It’s unclear whether this training mission was a result of Putin’s recent threats or not. The US government often runs training missions to ensure these planes are ready for anything. Considering there are six of these doomsday planes, it could just be coincidental timing to see the training mission run so close to Russia’s threat and its invasion of Ukraine.
A Windowless Plane with Antiquated Technology
What’s most intriguing about the doomsday plane is its design. The plane is almost completely windowless. It features a special shielding designed to protect passengers from the thermal effects of nuclear weapons. Additionally, it can stay in the air for several days at a time and has the ability to refuel in flight.
The government designed the doomsday plane during the Cold War. As such, it includes analog flight instruments. The older flight instruments are less likely to be fried by electromagnetic pulses released after a nuclear blast.
Each plane has 67 different satellite dishes attached to it. This allows the team onboard to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere in the world. Of course, most of the doomsday plane’s real capabilities are classified. At least, that’s what reports say. What we do know is that each of these planes stands around six stories tall. Live Science says that they include six bathrooms, a galley, a briefing room, and 18 bunks for sleeping. The doomsday plane can also hold a crew of up to 112 members.
Meet the E-4B: The Military’s $223 Million Doomsday Plane
US Defense News
(December 15, 2020) — The Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post (AACP), the current “Nightwatch” aircraft, is a strategic command and control military aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). The E-4 series are specially modified from the Boeing 747-200B for the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program.
The E-4 serves as a survivable mobile command post for the National Command Authority, namely the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and successors.
The four E-4Bs are operated by the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the 595th Command and Control Group located at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska. An E-4B when in action is denoted a “National Airborne Operations Center”.
Nuclear War Fears Rise as Putin’s
‘Doomsday Plane’ Is Scrambled Above Moscow
Russia’s Doomsday Plane protected by fighter jets
Putin would push button
to save his own skin’ says expert
(March 4, 2022) — A newly built “doomsday plane” operated by the Russian Air Force, has been reportedly out circulating Moscow.
According to Russian state media, work began on the military aircraft last year. The new plane model, named for its ability to withstand a nuclear blast, would work as a potential aerial command and control post for top officials in a disaster like nuclear-armed conflict.
Reports of the flight being one of President Putin’s “doomsday” fleet has raised particular concerns that a nuclear war could be on the horizon amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Data from FlightRadar24 shows a plane with the code “RSD980” described as “Rossiya — Special Flight Squadron” circulating over Moscow.
The data shows that the aircraft took off from Moscow Vnukovo International Airport at 4.16pm, and the flight path shows the plane making numerous circulations in the airspace above Moscow.
The plane circulated for 3 hours and 41 minutes, before landing at the same airport according to the site’s data.
Data from FlightRadar24 showed the plane circulating over Moscow.
The plane’s aircraft type is listed as “Tu-214VPU”.
Another version of Tu-214 performed its maiden flight at the airfield of Kazan Aviation Production Association in 2013.
At that time, the acronym generated a number of guesses related to the aircraft’s role.
RuAviation.com, a site specialising in Russian aviation, reported at the time: “According to a source close to the aircraft industry, this acronym stands for airborne command post.”
The site also claims the first information related to a Tu-214 jet intended for special aircraft division of the Federal Security Service (FSB) surfaced over a decade ago, in August 2011.
According to state-run news agency RIA Novosti, which cited a source in the state military-industrial complex, the work on the third-generation “doomsday plane” was underway in Voronezh in July last year.
Tass, another Russian state-run outlet, also said the new planes are based on the Il-96-400M, a Soviet-designed airliner, and will replace Russia’s current fleet of Il-80s.
Unlike the model on which they are based, “doomsday planes” are windowless which intends to shield those onboard from a nuclear blast.
“Doomsday planes” can operate as airborne command and control centres that can be used to evacuate top officials in an emergency.
Nuclear war fears rise as Putin’s Doomsday Plane is scrambled.
FlightRadar24 data for the aircraft’s journey (Image: FlightRadar24)
The aircraft are equipped with the technology to direct the armed forces in the event of a disaster like a nuclear war.
Information on the new plane and its specifications are limited, but RIA Novosti reports that the new types will have a longer range than their predecessors and be able to communicate effectively with strategic nuclear forces within roughly 3,700 miles.
The only countries that have designed and manufactured such aircraft are the United States and Russia.
The plane circulated for 3 hours and 41 minutes before landing (Image: FlightRadar24)
The US military’s “doomsday plane” is the E-4B, a militarized variant of the Boeing 747-200 passenger jet.
According to The Air Force, the plane is protected against electromagnetic pulses and shielded against nuclear and thermal effects.
The satellite technology utilised onboard also offers worldwide communication capabilities. At least one E-4B is on alert at any given time, according to the service.
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