E-4B Nightwatch art

The USAF is well known for operating a pair of very high profile Boeing 747s – the VC-25As that serve as the primary “Air Force Ones” for presidential travel. But a quartet of somewhat more ominous 747s have flown for the Air Force since the 1970s – the E-4B Nightwatch National Airborne Operations Centers. These “doomsday jets” were built to provide the US President with an airborne command post that could remain on station for days at a time (with aerial refueling, limited by engine oil) during times of a crisis, and able to communicate with US forces worldwide over about every possible wavelength.


USAF/Boeing E-4B Nightwatch

Magazine Articles and Photos:

Photo: “Boeing E-4 Begins Flight Tests With GE Engines” Aviation Week & Space Technology June 24, 1974 p.19

“E-4B Ahead of Time” Aviation Week & Space Technology October 18, 1976 p.22

“Airborne Command Post Interior Shown” Aviation Week & Space Technology February 21, 1977 p.23 4 photos

Benjamin M. Elson “E-4B Seen Meeting Time and Cost Goals” Aviation Week & Space Technology August 1, 1977 p.54-55

Magma Aviation 747-400 sighting

Boeing E-6A