Pentagon's Doomsday planes, said to be 'nuclear proof', damaged by tornado

Washington: Two of the Pentagon's specially reinforced 'Doomsday' planes, designed to withstand the heat from a nuclear blast, were grounded on Friday after being damaged by a tornado, the Air Force said.

A file image of the Pentagon. Reuters

A file image of the Pentagon. Reuters

The E4-B Boeing 747s, built in the 1970s during the Cold War, are essentially flying command centers that can refuel in the sky and are designed to remain airborne for days on end in times of crisis.

The Air Force has four E4-Bs, which also shuttle the secretary of defence around the world.

Two were damaged June 16 at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska when a tornado whipped through the area with little advance warning.

"Two E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft stationed at Offutt AFB received storm damage," Air Force spokesman Colonel Pat Ryder said.

Additionally, seven RC-135 reconnaissance planes suffered minor damage and another needed an inspection.

The E-4B is a 747 that has been reinforced to protect against the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear blast and is shielded from a thermal blast.

"An advanced satellite communications system provides worldwide communication for senior leaders through the airborne operations center," the Air Force said.

The blue-and-white jets can also unspool miles of low-frequency antenna to maintain contact with nuclear subs and other assets in times of crisis.


Updated Date: Jun 24, 2017 13:05 PM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See