Photo shows U.S. E-4B doomsday plane on the ground at Incirlik, Turkey

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


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. A plane did not smash into the pentagon, a cruise missile did. It took out the financial records dept., do your homework.

    • Here is the Britam Defense email that was published on the Daily Mail:

      ‘Phil… We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose
      an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington.

      ‘We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have.

      ‘They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.

      ‘Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?

      ‘Kind regards, David.’

      Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent International Commission
      of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete
      suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to
      oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

      But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian
      government forces using chemical weapons (CW), according to the BBC, she
      added that more investigation was needed.

    • It was a plane…
      If you think that little “engine” that was the plane’s APU engine was for the “missile”,

      Then I have a bridge to sell ya.

      • As a veteran MD-11 captain with over 12K total time, I was frankly amazed at the lack of debris at the site of the Pentagon incident. I saw no engine cores, landing gear, seats or luggage. From my experience ground effect would have prevented the 757 from traversing at the rate of speed so claimed. Let me put it this way, there are a whole lot of unanswered questions regarding 9-11 that will never be sufficiently answered.

  2. After checking the source, It’s even more evident that the photo was not taken at Incirlik.

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