Have you heard of Air Force One? Besides delivering awesome sneakers to people (Nike’s brand), Air Force One is responsible for the safety of the US President when he’s traveling in the air. It sounds like pretty hard work, but things get a little easier when you have in your hands the most high-tech planes on the planet. To make sure the President of the United States finishes his trips with one hundred percent safety, Air Force One operates some of the safest and most advanced airplanes that exist.
Except for their unbeatable capabilities, these military aircraft are a top-secret program for decades now. We may know little about them, but we know enough to cover the ten most interesting and scary facts about the ‘Doomsday’ plane, the safest airplane in the world. If you haven’t heard about it even once, get ready to read unbelievable things!
10/10 It’s Older Than You Would Expect
As you may know, Doomsday planes are in fact modified Boeing aircraft, that were designed primarily for civilian use. The current Doomsday is actually called E-4 Nightwatch, but that’s not the only version of the airplane that took to the skies.
The previous version was the E-4A, and the upgrade to the newer standard happened in 1985. The first versions, also known as the first Doomsday planes, were born back in the early ’70s. Its age doesn’t matter much though, as the most modern versions feature unmatched equipment and tech.
9/10 Upcoming Replacement?
Doomsday planes may come with super high-tech equipment, but the actual aerial platform may someday need a replacement. So, that means that the US will have a new Doomsday plane in the next years.
We already know the program’s name, which is Survivable Airborne Operations Center or more simply SOAC. Although we don’t know the exact release date of the new airplane, we estimate it to be between the two next decades. E-4Bs can’t fly forever, can’t they?
8/10 It’s A Strategic Weapon
What makes a weapon strategic? A simple answer to that question is a weapon that can cause great damage to an enemy, through a strategic decision of the armed forces of a country. Why is the Doomsday plane a strategic weapon? Simple because it carries the president and systems that let him and his consultants press very dangerous buttons.
These buttons can mean the launch of a nuclear missile on the ground, or the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a catastrophic nuclear warhead from a ballistic missiles submarine of the US Navy. Either way, no nation wants to face these mass destruction weapons of the US arsenal.
7/10 Nuclear Explosions Don’t Do Anything!
It wouldn’t be called the Doomsday plane if it weren’t resistant to nuclear blasts, would it? The whole concept behind this airplane is that the President of the United States, along with other important people, will survive after a catastrophic event in the States or the whole world.
Such results can undoubtedly come after the use of nuclear weapons, so Air Force One had no chance but to make the Doomsday plane capable of surviving these types of blasts. There is a ton of science behind it, but long story short, the airplane features ‘shields’ that protect it from different types of harmful radiation, impacts, etc.
6/10 If You Thought They Are Crazy Expensive, You Were Right
When you modify a massive Boeing aircraft into one of the hardiest and most significant aerial aircraft of the 21st century, you would expect it to come with a very big price tag, right? And you’d be right, as a single E-4B Nightwach cost almost 250 million dollars.
Operations costs are no joke either, as the Air Force One spends more than 150,000 dollars to fly a Doomsday plane for just an hour. These are enough. We don’t really need to mention the prices of upgrades packages and maintenance, which are also really hard to calculate.
5/10 Hackers Aren’t Happy
There are a few things, especially in the military, that can’t be hacked by capable people. The Doomsday plane is one of those things, as it features equipment that can not be hacked, or at least there is little to no probability to be affected by electric warfare attacks.
That’s possible due to the analog systems of the E-4B, which are, for the most part, considered ‘outdated’. Although they are old enough, they are the only way to ensure a safe flight without worrying about jamming or a ton of other types of electronic warfare attacks.
4/10 “Check Availability”
Being the safest airplane on the planet isn’t an easy job. E-4Bs Nightwatch work really hard, as they must always be prepared for a flight. There is a whole fleet of Doomsday planes, but the Air Force One ensures that at least one of them is always ready for take-off.
That means that the crew and the staff that operate these massive planes are always in alertness, waiting for instructions and keeping the Nightwatch ready for the air.
3/10 Was It Active During 9/11?
There have been reports that suggest an E-4B Nightwatch was actually flying over the White House on the day of the terrifying terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. These reports have never received an official confirmation so far, and they probably never will.
Although people who allegedly witnessed the aircraft in the skies seem pretty sure, nothing it’s certain. It’s either a very well-kept secret or just some untrue reports from people.
2/10 Top Secret Program
Talking about a well-kept secret reminded us to add that Doomsday planes are actually part of a very secret program. We may know a thing or two about the E-4B Nightwatch, but most of itseatures are actually top-secret programs in the United States.
That means that all the things we know about these airplanes may be just a small part of their capabilities. It also means that very few people know the exact location of these aircraft, and none of them can talk about it or reveal it.
1/10 Even Asteroids Can’t Hit It!
As the last fact, we have something fascinating that very few people know about the Doomsday planes. Remember when we mentioned the ‘shields’ of the airplanes that help them get through a nuclear blast? They also help them resist other impacts, such as asteroids!
Although that’s very unlikely to happen, the Air Force One wants to be prepared for every scenario, regardless of how possible it’s to happen. That’s why it covered the Doomsday planes with such strong armor, that even an asteroid hit can’t knock it down.