Aviation News

February 17, 2010

Boeing Delivers Refurbished E-4B ‘Doomsday Plane’ to US Air Force

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By: Matt Molnar
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But can it run Crysis?

One of the Air Force’s four “Doomsday Planes” has been returned to service following an eleven month overhaul by Boeing Global Transport & Executive Systems in Wichita, Kansas.

The E-4B National Airborne Operations Center is a highly modified Boeing 747-200 designed for one apocalyptic mission: To serve as a flying command center for the nation’s top leadership to keep the government in business should Washington D.C. ever get nuked, hence the nickname. So far that mission has never been flown, so when the E-4Bs are not taking part in war games or hanging out on the ground, they are the preferred method of transport of the secretary of defense for long distance trips.

According to Boeing:

The upgrade completed last week included an extensive programmed depot maintenance refurbishment, ensuring the aircraft received the repairs and system upgrades it needs to operate effectively and meet Federal Aviation Administration safety requirements. The next E-4B scheduled to enter maintenance will receive a full Mod Block upgrade that includes the addition of a Senior Leadership Communications System and improvements to the aircraft’s Global Air Traffic Management System, audio infrastructure, and interior.

We’re no experts, but we suspect that’s just a fancy way of saying they installed the most kickass mobile PlayStation 3 setup ever built, complete with Modern Warfare 2 and Beatles Rock Band. If you thought your last transcontinental flight on American or Southwest was boring without any fancy personal TVs to keep you entertained, keep in mind that the E-4B can stay in the air indefinitely as long as there are tankers in the air to keep the fuel gauges up. (Trivia: It takes two full KC-135s to top off the E-4B.)

The E-4B fleet flies out of Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.