May 19, 2012

Preparing For All Hell To Break Loose--The "Doomsday Plane"

Diane Sawyer from ABC News has a great piece here on the Flying Fortress, our Airborne Command Center, for the President and a 50-member entourage including the DefSec and the Joint Chiefs, to manage the United States response and retaliation should a worst-case situation happen--such as a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack. 

The plane has been referred to as The Doomsday Plane, Flying Fortress, Airborne White House, Airborne Arc, and The E-4B Nightwatch.

Located at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, this plane is on constant high-alert and ready 24 x 7 x 365--it is airborne within 5 minutes notice!  

According to Ideas and Discovery Magazine, there are actually 4 planes--the most-technologically advanced 747s in the world.

Built based on more than $2 billion in research, these planes are the most expensive in the world, fly 40 miles per hour faster than regular 747s, can stay in the air for about 3 days straight with in-air refueling, and are shielded from thermo-nuclear radiation and electromagnetic pulses.  

The planes are protected by 60 Air Force special forces troops, have their own on-board maintenance teams, and precision technical communication specialists. 

The planes have an area for battle staff to assess the situation and draw up action plans and a technical control facility for managing surveillance and command, control, and communications to issue encrypted commands on "virtually all frequencies" through 67 satellite dishes and antennas on the roof.

They can even communicate with submarines by dropping a 5 mile rope with a transceiver into the ocean below. 

These planes stand ready to evacuate the President and his staff in the case of a national emergency.

"The commander-in-chief can then send orders to troops and personnel, communicate with allied governments, or update the American people on the situation."

While it has far less amenities than Air Force One, this high-tech doomsday plane is very cool indeed. 

What I admire the most about this plane is not even the technology per se, but the planning and risk management that go into preparation for something "really bad" happening. 

While some people think emotionally that preparing for disaster is almost tantamount to pushing for one to actually occur, really that is an emotional reaction and denial of reality anchored in fear.   

Like insurance, you hope you never need it, but are really glad you have it, when all hell breaks loose! 

Perhaps, we can all learn something for ourselves here as well, that (disaster) preparedness can be scary and expensive, but we all need to have a plan and make it a good one.


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