Rolls-Royce is building the next $13 billion nuclear-proof ‘doomsday plane’

  • The USAF awarded a contract to Rolls-Royce
  • Rolls-Royce will now support the development of the next-gen doomsday plane
  • It will work with Sierra Nevada Corp. and Collins Airspace

Published on May 25, 2024 at 1:56 PM (UTC+4)
by Siddharth Dudeja

Last updated on May 25, 2024 at 2:00 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Nalin Rawat

If you’re into fighter planes, you must have heard about the ‘doomsday plane’ in the US Air Force’s (USAF) fleet, and it’s getting an extreme upgrade courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

The Boeing E-4B aircraft, also known as the doomsday plane, has been in the USAF fleet for several decades now.

These planes are going to retire soon, so the USAF needs new ones to replace them, and they obviously need to be better than their predecessors.

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If you didn’t know, these planes have another name — ‘Nightwatch.’

That name comes from a Rembrandt painting of the same name that shows townsfolk protecting their town.

So, what upgrades is the doomsday plane fleet getting?

In April, the US Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) the $13 billion doomsday plane contract.

The contract is a part of the Pentagon’s Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC) program.

And now, Rolls-Royce and Collins Aerospace are partnering with SNC to support the development.

Rolls-Royce has a reputation for building extremely capable engines and propulsion systems, and that’s exactly what it will do for these planes.

While the luxury automaker will take care of the propulsion systems, Collins Aerospace will design, manufacture, and supply certain solutions required for the upgraded E-4B Nightwatch fleet.

These planes are a force nobody should trifle with.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, the doomsday planes are nuclear-proof, for starters.

You heard that right — the general idea is to use the plane as an operations center in the worst-case scenario.

However, we do hope there’s not a nuclear apocalypse anytime soon.

Or ever, for that matter.

Currently, there are four of these planes in service.

The upcoming planes will have state-of-the-art features to protect whoever is inside them.

Since Rolls-Royce is in charge of the propulsion systems, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“For decades, Rolls-Royce has powered military operations around the world with reliable, cutting-edge technologies – safely transporting service members on their missions,” Rolls-Royce North America CEO Adam Riddle said.

He added, “Now, we are proud to pair our proven pedigree with the collective expertise of SNC and the rest of the SAOC team to ensure our military leaders have the platform to protect our national security when it matters most.”

The doomsday planes made in collaboration with Rolls-Royce will be out and about soon.

When they are, they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.


Siddharth Dudeja

Siddharth is a tech nerd with a secret love of all things cars. He has been writing for a few years now, and on his free time you would find him gaming when he's not procrastinating.