SNC to deliver USAF’s next ‘Doomsday Plane’

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has been selected to develop the Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC) platform that will ultimately replace the USAF’s ageing fleet of four E-4B National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) aircraft.

Known operationally as the ‘Nightwatch’ but also commonly referred to as the USAF’s ‘Doomsday Plane’, the E-4B fleet forms a key component of America’s National Military Command System, serving as a survivable airborne command post. In the event of a national emergency or the destruction of ground-based command-and-control centres, the aircraft provides “a highly survivable command, control and communications (C3) centre to direct US forces, execute emergency war orders, and co-ordinate actions by civil authorities.” Additionally, the E-4B supports the Global Command and Control Mission in support of the Secretary of Defense while travelling outside the continental US.

Based on the

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