The US “Doomsday Plane” has been spotted flying over Europe, as tensions continue to rise with Russia.
The Boeing 747 E4-B aka Nightwatch aircraft can remain in the air for days, and even withstand the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear blast.
Washington has maintained a fleet of these super-luxurious £150m planes since the Cold War, with the intent of using them as mobile bases if a war did turn nuclear.
The plane, officially known as the ‘Flying Pentagon’ to house senior military personnel and the defence secretary, was spotted taking off from the US on Wednesday night asides from the convoy shuttling the president over to Europe.
Recall at the height of the Cold War, when nuclear exchanges seemed like a plausible scenario, both the US and the Soviet Union commissioned Doomsday planes, designed to function as flying war rooms, from which the superpowers’ leaders could issue commands in the escalating event of a nuclear war.
Theoretically, the plane is capable of surviving a nuclear attack as well as the stygian effects of electromagnetic pulse, whilst keeping the leaders in touch with other world leaders through satellite communication.
”The E-4B is protected against the effects of electromagnetic pulse and has an electrical system designed to support advanced electronics and a wide variety of communications equipment,” the US Air Force writes on their website, described as ”an advanced satellite communications system provides worldwide communication for senior leaders through the airborne operations centre. 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.”
According to IFLScience, the Doomsday planes are capable of being refuelled in the air, only needing to descend to lubricate the engine about once a week.