|The E-4B serves as the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) for the National Command Authorities. In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command control centers, the aircraft provides a modern, highly survivable, command, control and communications center to direct U.S. forces, execute emergency war orders and coordinate actions by civil authorities. There are only four E-4B aircraft in the Air Force inventory, with one constantly on alert.|
The E-4B National Airborne Operations Center supports the National Command Authority (NCA) and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). Other responsibilities include a worldwide, survivable enduring node of the National Military Command System (NMCS) for the purpose of exercising national security responsibilities throughout the full spectrum. of conflict.
Offutt AFB, NE serves as the ACC E-4B Main Operating Base (MOB). Offutt AFB provides full organizational level maintenance with limited intermediate level maintenance support. Higher headquarters and training missions are flown from Offutt AFB. The E-4B has numerous Forwarding Operating Bases (FOB) throughout the United States. Higher headquarters and training missions are flown from these FOBs. The FOBs have limited organizational level maintenance capability and no intermediate level maintenance. Maintenance support is provided by a deployed 1 ACCS maintenance team.
Air Combat Command (ACC) is the Air Force single-resource manager for the E-4B, and provides aircrew, maintenance, security and communications support. The Joint Chiefs of Staff actually control E-4B operations and provide personnel for the airborne operations center.
The E-4B, a militarized version of the Boeing 747-200, is a four-engine, swept-wing, long-range, high-altitude airplane capable of being refueled in flight. Its larger size provides approximately triple the floor space of the earlier EC-135 command post.
The main deck is divided into six functional areas: a National Command Authorities' work area, conference room, briefing room, an operations team work area, and communications and rest areas. An E-4B crew may include up to 114 people, including a joint-service operations team, an ACC flight crew, a maintenance and security component, a communications team and selected augmentees.
The E-4B has electromagnetic pulse protection, an electrical system designed to support advanced electronics and a wide variety of new communications equipment. Other improvements include nuclear and thermal effects shielding, acoustic control, an improved technical control facility and an upgraded air-conditioning system for cooling electrical components. An advanced satellite communications system improves worldwide communications among strategic and tactical satellite systems and the airborne operations center.
To provide direct support to the National Command Authorities, at least one E-4B is always on alert at one of many selected bases throughout the world.
The E-4B requires numerous improvements to maintain flight worthiness and improve command, control, and communications capabilities. The next near-term major improvement is a Block 1 modification and includes an Audio Infrastructure Update, Global Air Traffic Management compliance updates, and the Senior Leadership Communications System.