Boeing E-4B (747-200B) – Airborne Command Post, US Air Force 1/200
4 in stock
4 in stock
InFlight 200 1/200 scale IFE4B0618: Boeing E-4B (747-200B) Advanced Airborne Command Post (AACP) serial 75-0125 of the US Air Force, with display stand
Length 14 inches Wingspan 11.75 inches
The Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post, the current “Nightwatch” aircraft, is a strategic command and control military aircraft operated by the United States Air Force. The E-4 series are specially modified from the Boeing 747-200B for the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program. The E-4 serves as a survivable mobile command post for the National Command Authority, namely the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and successors. The four E-4Bs are operated by the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the 595th Command and Control Group located at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska. An E-4B when in action is denoted a “National Airborne Operations Center”
On 21 December 1979, Boeing delivered the first E-4B (AF Serial Number 75-0125), which was distinguished from the earlier version by the presence of a large streamlined radome on the dorsal surface directly behind the upper deck. This contains the aircraft’s SHF satellite antenna.
By January 1985 all three E-4As had been retrofitted to E-4B models. The E-4B offered a vast increase in communications capability over the previous model and was considered to be ‘hardened’ against the effects of nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a nuclear blast. Hardening the aircraft meant that all equipment and wiring on board was shielded from EMP. Additional steps were taken to block radiation from the aircraft’s cabin air management system and cockpit, including the use of an etched metallic mesh (similar to screens used to cover the windows of microwave ovens) incorporated into the flight deck windows.
The E-4B fleet has an estimated roll-out cost of approximately US$250 million each. In 2005 the Air Force awarded Boeing a five-year, US$2 billion contract for the continued upgrade of the E-4B fleet. In addition to the purchase and upgrade costs, the E-4 costs nearly $160,000 per hour for the Air Force to operate.
The “cocked” or “on alert” E-4B is manned 24 hours a day with a watch crew on board guarding all communications systems awaiting a launch order (klaxon launch). Those crew members not on watch would be in the alert barracks, gymnasium, or at other base facilities. The 24-hour alert status at Andrews AFB ended when President Clinton ordered the aircraft to remain at Offutt unless needed, though relief crews remain based at Andrews and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. One E-4B is kept on alert at all times.
When the President travels outside of North America using a VC-25A as Air Force One, an E-4B will deploy to a second airport in the vicinity of the President’s destination, to be readily available in the event of a world crisis or an emergency that renders the VC-25A unusable. When President Barack Obama visited Honolulu, Hawaii, an E-4B was often stationed 200 miles away at Hilo International Airport on Hawaii Island.
In June 2017, two of the aircraft were damaged by a tornado that struck Offutt AFB. They are currently out of service and it is not known when they will be operational again.