Five new jets ordered by US for upgraded ‘Doomsday plane’ fleet

Those are some expensive renovations
  • The Boeing E-4B, also known as the ‘Doomsday plane,’ has been in service with the US Air Force since the 1970s
  • This aircraft is crucial to the Air Force’s fleet, able to perform under disasters such as nuclear warfare
  • It’s time the squadron was upgraded, and five new Boeing E-4B aircraft are about to receive a modernization worth billions

Published on May 16, 2024 at 2:26PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 16, 2024 at 2:38PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Kate Bain

The Doomsday plane is getting a makeover.

The US Air Force already has four of these Boeing E-4B aircraft, which are an absolutely crucial part of its arsenal.

Understandably, such a vital aircraft needs to be in top form at all times, ready for the most serious of emergencies.

One lucky company has been tasked with the mammoth task of upgrading the fleet, for a very handsome paycheck.

READ MORE: UK begins billion-dollar program to develop world’s first domestically-made hypersonic missile

The US Air Force‘s squadron is made up of planes prized for their longevity.

There’s the C-130 Hercules, in service since the 1950s, that can make smoke angels with its flares.

And there’s the B-52 Stratofortress, whose unique-sounding engine has been serving since 1955.

But don’t worry; the Air Force also embraces modernity, as seen by its robot dogs that carry AI-enabled rifles.

The Boeing E-4B, also known as the ‘Doomsday plane’, took its first flight in 1973.

It earned its nickname due to the crucial role it would play in a doomsday scenario, such as nuclear warfare.

Its other nickname is ‘Nightwatch’, after the Rembrandt painting of the same name that shows townsfolk protecting their town.

The plane is essentially a flying command center for the US government and military leaders to use in times of crisis.

Its communications system is so advanced that it will stay in contact with people on the ground even in hostile or highly secure environments.

Shielding makes it highly immune to electromagnetic pulses and other types of electronic interference too.

The Doomsday plane’s ability to stay airborne is remarkable as it can stay in the air for around 24 hours, or several days with aerial refueling.

Currently, the Air Force has four of these aircraft ready for action 24/7.

They’ve just bought five more aircraft to kit out for this very special wing of the fleet.

Sierra Nevada Corporation is on the job, having just bought five Boeing 747-8 planes from Korean Air in South Korea.

It wasn’t a cheap trip to the airport, and the planes cost $674 million all together.

After receiving delivery of the planes in September 2025, the company will begin the upgrading process.

While it’s not clear how much they’ll differ from the original design, it’s indicated that there will be more digital functions.

In total, this project will set back the United States by an eye-watering $13 billion.

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