Everybody know E-4Bs are extremely important. In the event of a war, a terrorist attack, an alien invasion and so on (hence the “doomsday plane” nickname), these aircraft are destined to keep the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other “decision makers” alive to direct nuclear (and conventional) forces, by receiving, verifying and relaying EAM (Emergency Action Messages).
One aircraft is usually airborne every 12 hours, with another one ready for departure with a 5-minute notice. If national command centers on the ground are attacked or unavailable, an E-4B is immediately scrambled: that’s why a “doomsday plane” was seen orbiting above Washington DC minutes after a hijacked plane had crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.
The E-6B Mercury, whose mission could be a sign that the Syria air war has just started, can do the same job.
Anyway, an E-4B was on the ground at Incirlik on Aug. 27. What was the doomsday plane doing in Turkey?
Update: Hagel visited Malaysia on Aug. 24 and later was in Brunei. Maybe this was a back-up plane?
Image courtesy of Kokpit.Aero website