E-6B Mercury: the deadliest American plane of all time


The Boeing E-6B Mercury is a command and control redundancy aircraft based on the Boeing 707-320, which was deployed in October 1998. The E-6 Mercury (formerly E-6 Hermes) is an airborne command post and a communications relay capable of launching land and sea-based nuclear ballistic missiles. The U.S. Navy’s unflappable E-6 Mercury maintains long-lasting and reliable communications links between the National Command Authority and U.S. nuclear forces in the event of full-scale nuclear war.

After nuclear weapons became a reality, E-6B Mercury evolved to fulfill its mission strictly as America’s absolute last line of defense against nuclear war. War and its consequences are horrible. E-6B Mercury lives up to its objectives of national defense, public safety and the authorities’ ability to respond to nuclear attacks in an entire region cut off from terrestrial infrastructure.

FAIRFORD, UK – JUL 13, 2018: US Navy Boeing E-6 Mercury VQ-4 airborne command and control aircraft on the tarmac at RAF Fairford airbase. Photo of DepositPhotos.com

The US Navy is the last force you want to mess with, thanks to these doomsday planes which are fitted with more fuel-efficient 4x CFM International CFM56-2A-2 turbofans and send commands to the nuclear triad via a control system of airborne launch (ALCS).

The E-6B Mercury aircraft is the backup to relay information to the submarine and perform critical command and control communications in the event of the loss of all normal ground infrastructure. The E-6B Mercury’s abundant communications equipment enables it to perform unclear command, control, and communications (C3) operations that enable seamless integration of modern subway operations and augment the cognitive functions of the aircraft. individual engaged in command and control, and complement the needs of the commander.

Boeing E-6B Mercury Model is the upgraded version of the E-6A that transmits National Command Authority instructions to the Fleet Ballistic Submarine, a survivable communications link mission known as Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO). TACAMO is a dedicated communications post critical to the deterrence and management of large-scale nuclear conflict, serving as a signal relay in nuclear warfare to maintain communications between decision makers and a triad of weapons delivery systems nuclear weapons on virtually all radio frequency bands.



Performance of the E-6B Mercury aircraft

The E-6B Mercury aircraft can easily accommodate 22 people to launch sea and land nuclear missiles. E-6B Mercury crews and top airmen fly four distinct sets of missions. ALCS, performing all ICBM and ALCS related testing, Strategic Command and Control System and Plans and Targeting.

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The E-6B can fly at the maximum speed of 980 km/h at a range of 6,600 nautical miles and operate for three consecutive days (i.e. 72 hours) at a time with aerial refueling. TACAMO-E-6B aircraft are equipped with advanced avionics such as standard 737 Next Generation cockpit, LTN-211 VLF Omega, Smiths SFM 02 digital/analog flight management system, AN/APS color weather radar -133, etc They also have dual trailing wires as transmitters and antennae to carry very low frequency communications systems, combat staff stations, and other specialized equipment.

Boeing E-6B Mercury
E-6B Mercury. Photo from the Touch and Go aviation fan page

To defend against being shot down by anti-aircraft, its systems are shielded to survive a nuclear explosion and an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from nuclear weapons exploding below. It has an ultra-high frequency radio to provide access to a survivable MILSTAR satellite communications network.

The E-6 Mercury, as a strategic airborne command post aircraft, provides instructions to US nuclear forces in a crisis, with a low frequency band antenna just over 5 miles long. These instructions could include orders to release the Trident D-5 submarine and launch an intercontinental range ballistic missile against any adversary that could permanently extinguish everything we hold dear.

Mercury E-6B Background

The US Navy awarded US aerospace manufacturer Boeing a full-scale development contract for the militarized version of the 707 civilian commercial airliners in 1983. Assembled on the same production line as the E-3 Sentry Airborne warning and control system (AWACS), the prototype E-6A was rolled out on December 18, 1986 and began its maiden flight on February 19, 1987. 16 of these aircraft were built and delivered to the Navy from 1989 to 1992. The 19 E-6A aircraft were changed to E-6B standard replacing the Air Force Airborne Command Post due to the age of the EC-135 fleet. With the acceptance of the first E-6B Mercury aircraft in December 1997, it was set up for the dual mission of fulfilling either the E-6A mission or the Airborne Strategic Command Post mission in October 1998. The modification of the E-6 fleet was completed in 2003 and the last E-6B was delivered on December 1, 2006.

The essence of Mercury E-6B

The latest derivative of the Boeing 707, the E-6B Mercury aircraft, is an incredible command and control center aircraft that performs aerobatic-type maneuvers to send messages to America’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines hide below and patrol the world. The United States has a highly trained team to operate the E-6B Mercuries to connect to submarines lurking in the planet’s vast underwater environment with its VLF communications system during an exchange nuclear.

The E-6B Mercury forms the backbone of America’s nuclear deterrent, with its ability to remotely control Minuteman ICBMs (multi-target intercontinental ballistic missiles), nuclear-capable bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. sailors. Only the United States, Russia, China, France and India have operational ICBMs for delivering nuclear weapons that could be ready to fight on short notice.

Boeing E-6B Mercury
e-6b-mercury Photo by Matt Hensarling

There is a party of 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft in the air or on alert for a surprise attack. They move quickly into action to ensure that the US government can retain control of its nuclear forces after a nuclear strike and deliver many important capabilities without even leaving the ground.

The E-6B Mercury is a fascinating aircraft that can hold the world in its hands and facilitate the end of the world if asked. The thought of Boeing E-6B Mercury in action while performing nuclear attacks conjures up horrific visions of mass casualties, war, the end of humanity. Yet these planes are tasked with disaster response to protect the country from impending doom and adversaries. Every aircraft in flight across the country 24/7 stays close to others to create a connection with each other and with people on the ground. Airborne Command Centers and their multiple advisors and officials assist the US President in making informed and insightful wartime decisions by providing connectivity to US officials anywhere on the planet.

Role of the E-6B Mercury

The E-6B Mercury TACAMO replaced the Boeing EC-135 aircraft to perform the Looking Glass mission of being in the air 24 hours a day to serve as a flying command post for Strategic Air Command in the event of nuclear war. In certain circumstances where ground command centers have been destroyed or otherwise rendered inoperative, the E-6B Mercury directs bombers and missiles from the air as dictated by the US President. This iconic aircraft is the US Navy’s ultimate friend in defending the United States and its interests, building and evoking trust between them, as each ship is armed with 24 nuclear-tipped SLBMs.

The United States Navy, the largest and most powerful Navy in the world, operates the E-6 fleet at Tinker Air Force Base to enable communication between the US President/Secretary of Defense and Deputy -American sailors, bombers and missile silos during nuclear war.

Cost of the E-6B Mercury aircraft

The E-6B Mercury is an expensive aircraft costing the Department of Defense approximately $223,000,000 for each unit. In 2009, the price of an E-6 aircraft was valued at $142 million. The Navy’s Doomsday aircraft serving as an airborne command post requires high operational costs, and maintenance is prohibitively expensive due to parts no longer being built for the Boeing 707.

Where does the E-6B fly?

E-6Bs flew to Europe and Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Qatar, etc., to relay information such as IED explosion reports, medical evacuation requests, etc They perform independent random operations to various deployed sites such as Travis AFB in California, NAS Patuxent River in Maryland, and other much less predictable locations around the world.

Boeing E-6B Mercury
e-6b-mercury Photo by TXAVGEEK

In 2020, E-6B Mercury aircraft were sighted in flight off Washington, DC. Who would have been deployed to warn American adversaries after learning that the President had contracted the virus, but the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs then released the statement saying that these planes were part of the pre-planned mission coinciding with the time of the President’s Announcement.

The future of the E-6B

The Navy’s fleet of 16 E-6B aircraft has an average age of 21 years and is aging and in need of a comprehensive nuclear modernization push. Ongoing adjustments to its systems and service extension program can take E-6B fleets out into 2040, pushing airframe limits. Although the command and control infrastructure works for today, the cost of renovating it over the next decade can run into the billions. The US Navy must begin planning for a possible replacement of the E-6B fleet to host its TACAMO nuclear communications mission at the best cost to the US taxpayer. In June 2021, the Navy accelerated the TACAMO Nuclear Communications Recap Plan to procure the Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules for the Boeing E-6B Mercury replacement program.

As long as the E-6B remains operational, it will be the US military’s deadliest and most important aircraft as a nuclear deterrent and communications platform and the ultimate protector of the US skies.


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