|The Boeing E-6 Mercury is an American military aircraft that acts as an airborne command post and communications relay in times of crisis. It is an adaptation of the Boeing 707-320 airliner by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. |
The original E-6A was a communications relay aircraft that entered service with the US Navy in July 1989, replacing the EC-130Q. It conveyed instructions from the National Command Authority to fleet ballistic missile submarines, a mission known as TACAMO ("Take Charge and Move Out"). The E-6B model deployed in October 1998 kept this role, but added further command post capabilities and control of land-based missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. The E-6B replaced Air Force EC-135C's in the "Looking Glass" role, providing command and control of U.S. nuclear forces should ground-based control become inoperable.