The huge capacity of the Boeing 747 made it an ideal airframe for the Advanced Airborne Command Post (E-4). In 1973, it took over the mission of the KC/EC-135 flying command post aircraft to provide safe airborne headquarters for military and civilian leaders in times of emergency. The original three E-4As were upgraded to the standard of the E-4B delivered to the U.S. Air Force Aug. 4, 1976.
The four E-4s carry 13 external communications systems and are designed for missions lasting 72 hours. Their "hardness" features protect the crew from electromagnetic radiation and the effects of a nuclear blast.
E-4 home page
||June 19, 1973
||Advanced Airborne Command Post
||195 feet 8 inches
||231 feet 4 inches
||More than 600 mph at 30,000 feet
||More than 12 hours
||45,000 feet plus
||Four 52,000-pound-thrust F103-GE-100 turbofan engines
||Up to 94 personnel, including flightcrew and 30 battle staff members