Sierra Nevada Awarded DoD Contract To Build Next-Gen 'Doomsday Plane'

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Apr 27, 2024 - 05:25 PM

Aerospace and defense company Sierra Nevada Corporation won the $13 billion Pentagon contract to develop a successor to the "Doomsday Plane" that serves as a mobile command post in the event of nuclear war. 

The current 1970s-era Boeing E-4B "Nightwatch" serves as the National Airborne Operations Center and is a key component of the National Military Command System for the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

However, the fleet of E-4B Nightwatch, which can withstand nuclear blasts and electromagnetic effects, is aging and needs to be replaced. 

That's where Sierra Nevada comes in with the new Survivable Airborne Operations Center project, which will replace the E-4B Nightwatch by 2036. 

"In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centers, the aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control, and communications center to direct US forces, execute emergency war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities," explained an E-4B Nightwatch fact sheet produced by the US Air Force. 

In December, Reuters sources said Boeing - the incumbent manufacturer of the E-4B Nightwatch, could not agree with the Air Force on data rights and contract terms for the replacement plane. 

Currently, the Air Force operates four E-4B Nightwatch planes, with at least one on full alert at all times. 

Given Boeing's string of problems at its commercial jet unit, it's probably best that Sierra Nevada was awarded the project for one of the nation's most important aircraft.