Comparison of Russian and US Doomsday Aircraft, Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome VS Boeing E-4B Nightwatch

Comparison of Russian and US Doomsday Aircraft, Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome VS Boeing E-4B Nightwatch
Comparison of Russian and US Doomsday Aircraft, Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome VS Boeing E-4B Nightwatch

International Military - The United States and Russia are the 2 countries that have doomsday planes, namely the Ilyushin Il-80 (Maxdome) and the Boeing E-4B (Nightwatch). Russia and the US are setting up doomsday planes to keep heads of state and key military officials capable of issuing orders in the event of a nuclear war safe.

Quoted by Tweaktown and interestingengineering, the US has a Boeing E-4B with a Nightwatch call sign which is a modification of the Boeing 747. While Russia has an Ilyushin II-80 aircraft known as the Maxdome or sometimes Camber. The Ilyushin II-80 aircraft was built from the Ilyushin II-86 model with several key differences.

Read Also: Specifications of the Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome, the Private Aircraft of the Russian President during the Nuclear War

Russian Ilyushin II-80 Maxdome Aircraft

The Ilyushin II-80 Maxdome

The Ilyushin II-80 made its first flight in 1985 and deliveries began in 1987 after many modifications. Developed using the II-86 Ilyushin as a model, the II-80 looks very different from commercial aircraft.

The nickname for this aircraft is Maxdome, although some refer to it as Camber, a term used by commercial navigation for the II-86. The Maxdome is very different from its commercial counterpart in that it doesn't have cabin windows on the plane.

The cockpit retains its windows but with screens blocking them. This change was enacted to protect occupants from electromagnetic waves (EMP) or nuclear explosions.

The upper deck doors on the plane have been reduced in number while only one aerial staircase remains. A large SATCOM canoe sits above the fuselage at the front with a large antenna at the rear.

The tail of the plane also has a winch for the tow antenna, very low frequency (VLF), while the horizontal stabilizer also has room for more sensors or communication antennas. The aircraft also has two large electric generator pods housed in its engines, which have air intake scoops and exhaust jets at the ends. A retractable refueling probe is placed under the cockpit.

Read Also: The Zveno-3C Aircraft, Russia's New Doomsday Plane That Will Replace the Ilyushin Il-80

US Boeing E-4B Nightwatch Aircraft

The Boeing E-4B Nightwatch

The United States' doomsday plane, the Boeing E-4B Nightwatch, retains its cabin windows but is protected from EMP using special shielding, including the cables. The aircraft retains analog instruments in the cockpit.

This three-deck aircraft carries electrical panels, step-down transformers, and SATCOM and VLF equipment. The aircraft is equipped with a trailing wire antenna that can extend up to 8 km and can carry 13 lines of communication.

Nightwatch requires two fully loaded KC-135 tankers to fully refuel. So the plane can stay in the air for two weeks, even though it is designed to fly for 35 hours.

To provide direct support to the President and the Minister of Defense, at least one unit of E-4B aircraft is always on standby 24 hours, 7 days a week. Including a global surveillance team at one of the selected bases around the world.

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