Tornado Damages Doomsday Planes

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They’re said to be the Air Force’s indestructible last line of defense but two of four E-4B airborne command post aircraft have been taken out by the Nebraska weather. The two aircraft, based on Boeing 747-200B civilian airliners, were damaged by a tornado that hit Offutt Air Force Base on June 16. Seven RC-145 reconnaissance planes, which are Boeing 707 derivates, suffered minor damage but six were quickly returned to service. The Air Force did not detail the damage to the big planes, officially designated as the National Airborne Operations Center when they're airborne, but did confirm they have been taken off the flight line.

Neither of the affected aircraft was the “alert” aircraft at the time and the Air Force told Air Force Times that the mission can still be carried out with the two airworthy aircraft. No timeline for repair of the pricey aircraft, sometimes referred to as “doomsday planes” for their central role in the event of a nuclear attack or major disaster. The aircraft are the preferred mount for the Secretary of Defense when he travels and an E-4B shadows the president when he goes out of the country, landing at a neighboring airport as a backup to Air Force One.

Comments (2)

When I was in the United States Navy, when such weather threats were forecast, the aircraft were relocated to safer environs. That saved lots of aircraft.

Posted by: Daniel Pierce | June 26, 2017 12:45 PM    Report this comment

Is it not 28000 and 29000 that accompany each other on overseas missions. The two VC-25As.

Posted by: Romeo Victor | June 26, 2017 2:14 PM    Report this comment

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