Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: TACAMO
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: E-6 Mercury
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1989
Total Production: 16
Total Cost: USD$2.3 billion
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Description: The US Navy E-6 Mercury, also known as TACAMO (TAke Charge And Move Out), is a communications relay and an airborne command post aircraft derived from the Boeing 707 commercial aircraft. It provides survivable, reliable, and endurable command, control and communications between the National Command Authorities and strategic and non-strategic US forces worldwide.
The E-6 aircraft replaced the aging EC-130Q performing airborne communications between the US national authorities and submarine ballistic forces during times of crisis. It carries a very low frequency communications dual trailing wire antennas.
The first E-6A aircraft was accepted by the US Navy in 1989. The E-6B was conceived for the replacement of the EC-135 Looking Glass airborne command post aircraft, while retaining E-6A capabilities. The first aircraft entered service with the US Navy in 1997 and assumed its dual purpose operational mission in October 1998.
The E-6B dual purpose aircraft (command post and communications link) was equipped with the Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS). ALCS is capable of launching land based intercontinental ballistic missiles. The E-6 fleet was completely upgraded to the B model standard in 2003 being powered by four CFM-56-2A-2 turbofans.
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