Manufacturer: BoeingService: USAF Speed: 602 mph Range: 6,200 nautical miles Crew: Up to 112 (flight crew and mission crew)
The E-4B is a militarized version of the 747-200 commercial airliner and acts as the United States’ principle airborne command and control operations center during times of war. Originally designed to carry the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a nuclear attack, the aircraft provides a highly survivable, command, control and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders and coordinate actions by civil authorities.
The main deck is divided into six functional areas: a command work area, conference room, briefing room, an operations team work area, and communications and rest areas. An E-4B crew may include up to 112 people, including a joint-service operations team, an ACC flight crew, a maintenance and security component, a communications team and selected augmentees.
The E-4B has electromagnetic pulse protection, an electrical system designed to support advanced electronics and a wide variety of communications equipment. Other improvements include nuclear and thermal effects shielding, acoustic control, an improved technical control facility and an upgraded air-conditioning system for cooling electrical components. An advanced satellite communications system improves worldwide communications among strategic and tactical satellite systems and the airborne operations center.
To provide direct support to the president, secretary of defense and the JCS, at least one E-4B is always on alert at one of many selected bases throughout the world.
The first aircraft were integrated into the Air Force fleet in 1974, but by 1985 all “A” model aircraft were converted to the newer “B” model.