The (approximately) six-story aircraft has 18 bunks, six bathrooms, a conference room, Briefing rooms, galleys, battlefield work areas, and executive quarters. The 112-strong crew has three decks, four huge engines, and space.
If the world suddenly descends into a large-scale nuclear war, one of the safest places you can be is on the side of an airplane – in particular, US Air Force E-4B (nickname: “Doomsday Aircraft”) let’s hope it doesn’t come here.
The interior design has been described as utilitarian and dated with a distinctive lack of windows and an (almost exclusively) old electronic system. The E-4B is actually a modification of the Boeing 747.
Interestingly, the aircraft can stay in the air for several days and is able to refuel during the flight with the help of another aircraft. Above is a dome-shaped structure (a “radome”), which stored many of the aircraft’s 60-something satellite dishes and antennas, communicating with ships, submarines, aircraft, and landlines that could be anywhere on the planet. Disappointingly, however, most of its skills have been categorized.
As one crew member explained, there is no digital touch screen. Instead, it is designed with analog flight instruments. If there is ever a nuclear war, it will be safe – digital technology will be damaged as a result of the electromagnetic pulse that occurs after a nuclear explosion. Analog technology, however, is less risky in this type of attack.
So, who is the lucky owner of this craft? According to CNBC’s Amanda Macias, Insight into the plane on the Day of Judgment, it was used to shuttle the Secretary of Defense from space. Most recently, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan paid a week-long visit to Asia.
The Air Force fleet currently has four E-4Bs, with one on alert and ready to go at any time.
The plane is essentially a flying command center, “one Pentagon spokesperson told Macias. The secretary has the most form of the isolated classified communication system and the aircraft has the most forms of passenger communication system, “so, he never goes out of the loop,” another said. According to Macias, the Day of Judgment flights have been in operation since 1980 – and are due to retire by 2039.