During the Cold War it was one of the US’s most Top Secret weapons. It’s been called the “Doomsday Plane” and it has been designed to withstand a nuclear explosion, and in doing so, deliver the final counterstrike in a potential nuclear conflict between the US and the then Soviet Union.
Recently made public knowledge, the mostly windowless Boeing 747, officially designated the E-4B, still looks like a throwback to that tense era. CNBC reporter Amanda Macias, recently was given an exclusive look inside of the “Doomsday Plane.”
According to Macias, the “craft is equipped with older analog flight instruments, rather than modern digital technology.” That makes perfect sense, as the analog equipment is less likely to be fried by the electromagnetic pulse released after a nuclear blast. It also has shielding to protect its crew from nuclear and thermal effects during a nuclear war.
With its giant fuel tanks and ability to refuel in the air from other aircraft, the doomsday plane can stay airborne for several days. It holds 67 satellite dishes and antennas, meaning its crew can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, even sending messages to the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, which would also be presumed to have survived a Soviet first strike on the US.
Most Capabilities of the Doomsday Plane Are Classified
While the military now has disclosed that the rumored plane does indeed exist and is still commissioned, besides what was recently shown to CNBC, most of its systems and capabilities remain classified.
The Air Force has revealed there are currently four of these E-4B aircraft in service. Each “Doomsday Plane” stands nearly 6 stories tall. Sporting 18 bunks, six bathrooms, a galley and a briefing room among other rooms, each can fly 112 crew members.
The Airforce will not say what the current mission or location of all of the aircraft are, however, we have learned that one is being used by Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to travel to various parts of the world. In fact, on Tuesday morning May 28, he boarded the craft in Maryland en route to Asia for a weeklong trip.