Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: E-4A
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: E-4
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1974
Total Production: 4
Total Cost: USD$3.0 billion
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Description: The US Air Force E-4 is an airborne operations center for the President and Secretary of Defense derived from Boeing 747-200 airliner. In case of national emergency or destruction of ground control centers, this aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control and communications center to direct US military forces. The E-4 can be refueled in-flight to extend its range and mission endurance.
The E-4 was developed as the replacement for aging EC-135 command post aircraft while providing larger capacity due to its huge airframe. The E-4A was introduced in late 1974 and the B model was delivered to the US Air Force in January 1980. All four existing A models were converted to the B standard by 1985. Currently, it is powered by four 52,500-lb CF6-50E2 engines.
The E-4B has electromagnetic pulse protection, nuclear and thermal effects shielding, an electrical system designed to support advanced electronics, and a wide variety of communications equipment. The communications system links to US strategic and tactical communication satellites constellations. At least one E-4B is always on alert at one of many selected bases throughout the world to support US national authorities in an emergency event.
In December 2005 the US Air Force awarded an industry team led by Boeing a $2 billion contract as Product Support Integrator (PSI) for the E-4 National Airborne Operations Center fleet. The contract was for a five-year period plus one five-year option. The Boeing-led team included L3 Communications, Rockwell Collins, and Greenpoint Technology Inc.
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