Washington has maintained a fleet of Nightwatch command-and-control Boeing 747 E4-B aircraft since the 70s, with the specific purpose of providing an airborne base for the US defence secretary and senior military personnel to conduct operations during a nuclear war. The aircraft can remain in the air for days and is designed to withstand the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear blast. It conducts routine training and readiness missions. At least one E4-B is kept on 24/7 readiness. It is also known as the “Flying Pentagon”.
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