Max Q
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Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 4:31 am

From what I understand the E4B follows the President everywhere he goes and is designed for him to be able to control
all aspects of the Military in the event of a major war, Nuclear or otherwise.


Point is, what if war breaks out while he is travelling in AF1 ? do they both land somewhere and then he transfers over ?
why not simply consolidate all functions of the E4B into AF1


It seems a vulnerable arrangement.
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rfields5421
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 4:44 am

The E-4B does not have room for the full complement of the President's family, key staff and the media that fly on AF-1.

The E-4B devotes much more of the space to equipment and support personnel than AF-1 - less space for non-working people. The E-4B does not have, nor have room for the medical suite which is on the VC-25

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
I understand the E4B follows the President everywhere

No - it does not. The E-4B does accompany the President on overseas trips and domestic trips where major military facilities are not nearby. The E-4B has other missions and is used as the airborne command post in exercises throughout the year.

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
Point is, what if war breaks out while he is travelling in AF1 ? do they both land somewhere and then he transfers over ?

If the two are together and a landing and transfer is possible, the consensus is that will occur. However, the President flying in AF-1 can communicate with a nearby E-4B and exercise command authority if necessary.

[Edited 2012-05-04 21:52:31]

[Edited 2012-05-04 21:53:14]
 
Max Q
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 6:00 am

Still seems a redundant arrangement and one that might require a transfer under the worst possible circumstances.



With the advances in technology and the smaller size of modern electronics I hope this is planned to be consolidated on the next AF1
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zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 12:22 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
why not simply consolidate all functions of the E4B into AF1

I suspect that is why the Air Force proposes 3 frames for the next AF1 buy: 1 in depot, 1 serving the E-4 function, and the 3rd on alert for the White House. The E-4Bs go to the scrapper & the VC-25s go into the mainline fleet at the 89th flying SECDEF and whomever. That's my guess anyway.
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rfields5421
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
Still seems a redundant arrangement

Redundancy is essential for good military planning and operations. That is why there are 4 E-4Bs and only two VC-25 aircraft. Because the E-4B is more essential to military operations.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
and one that might require a transfer under the worst possible circumstances.

The current system doesn't require a transfer, it just offers the opportunity for a transfer. Initially a transfer was probably required, but after the lessons learned on Sept 11, 2001 - the VC-25s have been upgraded to ensure they can provide the President with a communications and information system sufficient for his needs.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
With the advances in technology and the smaller size of modern electronics I hope this is planned to be consolidated on the next AF1

The electronics are an issue - but not the main one. It is personnel.

The E-4B carries a large crew of specially trained and qualified experts to manage a major conflict situation.

The VC-25 carries a very small communications crew, the President and his family, his key civilian advisers, representatives of the news media and guests as necessary.

If the functions are consolidated, many people carried on AF-1 would not pass the security requirements to fly on the E-4B. Security to fly on AF-1 concerns the 'threat' potential to the President. Security on the E-4B concerns the suitability of the person to know this nation's highest level military secrets.

Also think about how the image of AF-1 would change. Rather then the President arriving in a foreign nation in what is assumed to be the ultimate luxury jet (which it is not) - the President would be arriving in a dedicated military command center.

The difference of him arriving in a luxury limo or a M1130 Stryker command armored vehicle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1130_Command_Vehicle).
 
zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 5:17 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 4):
That is why there are 4 E-4Bs and only two VC-25 aircraft. Because the E-4B is more essential to military operations.

There are 4 E-4Bs because the intention for emergency situations was to have one constantly airborne. Really can't do that with less than 4 airframes: 1 at depot, 1 airborne, 1 recovering from it's last mission, and 1 getting ready to assume airborne alert.

Of course that role (Emergency Airborne Command Post) for the E-4B is now history, taken over by platforms better suited to that mission - namely the E-6 & VC-25.

So the sole mission left for the E-4 is to tote SECDEF wherever he needs to go...
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Stitch
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 6:55 pm

As I understand it, the VC-25 was designed with an upgraded communications suite to allow it to perform a number of the C3I roles that were formerly handled by the E-4B.

Also, the Navy's E-6B Mercury planes are able to control the entire US nuclear triad, including the "Looking Glass" role formerly handled by the E-4B and USAF E-135s.

As such, the E-4B is no longer as important (especially in this era of reduced nuclear tensions) and are now used by SecDef on overseas trips and by FEMA as command posts for major disasters.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 05, 2012 8:10 pm

Mostly correct, Stitch. The E-4Bs are more than just SecDef's personal transport. The are responsible the the National Command Athorities (NCA). This was formerly the NECAAP (knee-cap) mission. It is the primary airborne command post for the SIOP mission (yes, it still exsists). One fully crewed E-4B is always on ground alert at OFF and capabile of launching on a 15 minute notice, just like the old SAC Alert Force of bombers, tankers, PACCS, and a spare LOOKING GLASS EC-135C was.

In other words, the main mission of the E-4B fleet is still to run a nuclear war, if neccessary. That is why it was once called the "Dooms Day Airplane".

As far as I know, only one US President has even flown on the E-4B, and that was Jimmy Carter.
 
Flighty
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sun May 06, 2012 12:31 am

Does anybody know (reasonably public) details of what E-4Bs got from a $2 billion refurbishment contract with Boeing? That would seem to be enough money to rebuild and re-equip the aircraft.
 
Max Q
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sun May 06, 2012 5:50 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 4):

Also think about how the image of AF-1 would change. Rather then the President arriving in a foreign nation in what is assumed to be the ultimate luxury jet (which it is not) - the President would be arriving in a dedicated military command center.

The difference of him arriving in a luxury limo or a M1130 Stryker command armored vehicle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1130_Command_Vehicle).

I disagree, firstly, as already said many of these functions can be accomplished on AF1 already.


Secondly, how would anyone know and who cares if they do ?
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fsnuffer
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sun May 13, 2012 10:52 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 9):
I disagree, firstly, as already said many of these functions can be accomplished on AF1 already.

Unless they install the same 30,000ft trailing wire ELF antenna, AF1 is going to have a really tough time transmitting an EAM to the submerged ballistic subs on nuclear alert
 
zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sun May 13, 2012 11:39 pm

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 10):
Unless they install the same 30,000ft trailing wire ELF antenna, AF1 is going to have a really tough time transmitting an EAM to the submerged ballistic subs on nuclear alert

That's what the E-6 is for.
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fsnuffer
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Mon May 14, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 11):
That's what the E-6 is for.

Agreed. The posters point was most of these capabilities were already on AF1.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Mon May 14, 2012 1:55 pm

Additionally, the VC-25s do not carry any part of the entire SIOP plans, other than the execusion codes. The E-4Bs do carry the entire plan and are able to retarget any perticular bomber, missile, or SSBN mission or reassign air refueling assets if needed due to the changing situation. The E-6B only carries a portion of the plan, mostly for the missile and SSBN forces.

The VC-25s do not have this capability because there are usually a small press corp and other civilians that are not cleared for Top Secret/Crypto access.

The VC-25s also do not communicate directly with SIOP mission assets. The communications capability with actual combat forces is very limited.
 
Max Q
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Wed May 16, 2012 4:39 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):


Additionally, the VC-25s do not carry any part of the entire SIOP plans, other than the execusion codes. The E-4Bs do carry the entire plan and are able to retarget any perticular bomber, missile, or SSBN mission or reassign air refueling assets if needed due to the changing situation. The E-6B only carries a portion of the plan, mostly for the missile and SSBN forces.

The VC-25s do not have this capability because there are usually a small press corp and other civilians that are not cleared for Top Secret/Crypto access.

The VC-25s also do not communicate directly with SIOP mission assets. The communications capability with actual combat forces is very limited.

Would it not be possible, with advances in technology and the smaller size of components that these functions could be integrated on the 'new AF1'


Could the press not be kept isolated and separate from these sensitive areas ?


The B748 has a very large upper deck that could probably combine all these functions ?
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bikerthai
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Wed May 16, 2012 2:16 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 2):
With the advances in technology and the smaller size of modern electronics I hope this is planned to be consolidated on the next AF1

Recent advances in technologies primarily concentrated on the processing capability side (computing, encryption etc.). When you deal with sensors and communication, the basic electro-mechanical physics is the same. You can't shrink an XX KW power supply.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 4):
The E-4B carries a large crew of specially trained and qualified experts to manage a major conflict situation.

The VC-25 carries a very small communications crew, the President and his family, his key civilian advisers, representatives of the news media and guests as necessary.
Quoting Stitch (Reply 6):
As I understand it, the VC-25 was designed with an upgraded communications suite to allow it to perform a number of the C3I roles that were formerly handled by the E-4B.

Really, the most important electronic suit needed on AF1 would be communication. Including HF, VHF & Satellite. I would guess most of us on this forum would not want the Prez to be micromanaging a battle field. He just need to be able to communicate with the generals/admirals where ever they are. Thus the real upgrading would probably be involve significant bandwidth capabilities to have virtual conferencing with any battle command center in the world via satellite links. I would not be surprised if that capability is available now.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 8):
Does anybody know (reasonably public) details of what E-4Bs got from a $2 billion refurbishment contract with Boeing? That would seem to be enough money to rebuild and re-equip the aircraft.

Considering each system uptrade (ESM, HF, EWSP) can involve tens of millions of dollars per system for new LRU designs . . . and Boeing charges high hourly rates for their installation mechanics, the prices are withing realistic realm. Also Boeing doesn't control most of the equipment cost anyway . . . it's the sub-tier equipment suppliers Raytheon, NG etc. that contribute significantly to the cost also.

bt
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zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Wed May 16, 2012 10:19 pm

Quoting Max Q (Reply 14):
Would it not be possible, with advances in technology and the smaller size of components that these functions could be integrated on the 'new AF1'

I think so

Quoting Max Q (Reply 14):
Could the press not be kept isolated and separate from these sensitive areas ?

This happens on VC-25 now. Nobody from the back goes forward or upstairs without appropriate approval.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 14):
The B748 has a very large upper deck that could probably combine all these functions ?

  
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BladeLWS
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 1:57 am

You can downsize some of the equipment needed for comms and such, but the fact of the matter remains that to control the battlespace you need a sizable staff on hand to receive, interpret, and send out information. This means around 50 people on board just for running the plane, plus the president and his staff if they ever came on board. Even with a new 748 there just isn't the room for that, the only way to do so would be to cut down on the executive amenities on AF1, something that won't happen.

The staff on AF1 is there for the president (and other cabinet members) to communicate with the rest of the government while away from the White House. This capability also allows for military communications to exist but in a limited capacity (this isn't due to lack of computers and such, more from a lack of personnel on board to take it in and run it). The president still has the capability to use the countries nuclear arsenal through the "football", but individual SIOPs would not be available. In the event of a major conflict the president would transfer to an E-4B at the soonest opportunity.

You can see the space used in this old photo http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ommons/c/c9/BoeingE4AACPconfig.png

There's really only space for the battlestaff area, VIP area forward (like AF1), a small conference room, NCA briefing area, and crew rest in the rear. Most of the computer gear would be stored below in the cargo hold. So in order to move the same capability of the E-4B into AF-1 and still carry press and staff in executive luxury, just isn't possible.

It all comes down to the old fashioned way of doing things, computers can get smaller and faster, but you still need a pair of Mark 1 Mod 0 eye balls to read, analyze, inform, and send back out information.

I foresee a future purchase of two 748 VC-25B's for VIP use, and 4 748 E-4C's.
 
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Stitch
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 2:12 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 17):
I foresee a future purchase of two 748 VC-25B's for VIP use, and 4 748 E-4C's.

I don't believe we'll see a 747-sized replacement for the E-4. Maybe a 767, but it could probably be done with a 737. I expect such a plane would absorb the roles of both the E-4 and E-6.
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 2:38 pm

Quoting Stitch (Reply 18):
Maybe a 767

Or a 777 . . . if you need more floor space. Besides, the 777 production line will extend further into the future than the 767 line.   

With the 777 you have the large upper crown area to install electronic equipment (including crown crew rest) eliminating the need for racks and crew rest on the main deck and opening up the lower deck for other purposes (roll on/roll off mission specific equipment).

bt
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zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 6:09 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 17):

You're assuming the E-4 remains relevant. The President has only ever flown aboard the E-4 once. SECDEF only uses it because it has the comm he needs and because NAOC was looking for a relevant mission it could do at the time.

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 17):
I foresee a future purchase of two 748 VC-25B's for VIP use, and 4 748 E-4C's.

The AF1 replacement RFP for 3 aircraft
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humanitarian
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 9:54 pm

A few years back Rumsfeld had planned to retire the E-4B and a congressional staff member told me they planned to replace it with 777's. I think that plan has gone away for now.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 20):
You're assuming the E-4 remains relevant. The President has only ever flown aboard the E-4 once. SECDEF only uses it because it has the comm he needs and because NAOC was looking for a relevant mission it could do at the time.

My current understanding is that the aircraft is not as relevant anymore. The upgraded communication capabilities found in the E-4B have been incorporated into the VC-25A. Not sure why the SecDef needs to take the E-4B on overseas trips but with the recent communications upgrades and the need to justify them, that may be the reason.
 
BladeLWS
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 10:51 pm

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 20):
You're assuming the E-4 remains relevant. The President has only ever flown aboard the E-4 once. SECDEF only uses it because it has the comm he needs and because NAOC was looking for a relevant mission it could do at the time.

There are many things that our military has that may never be used, nuclear weapons have only been used in combat twice, ballistic missile submarines, B-52's, B-1's, B-2's loaded with nukes, land based ICBM, the list goes on.

It's all based on continuity of government and mutually assured destruction. That we have the capability to make a return strike against an adversary is the reason we have these tools. I hope and pray that we never have to use them again, but it's also the reason why we have them.

Quoting Humanitarian (Reply 21):

My current understanding is that the aircraft is not as relevant anymore. The upgraded communication capabilities found in the E-4B have been incorporated into the VC-25A. Not sure why the SecDef needs to take the E-4B on overseas trips but with the recent communications upgrades and the need to justify them, that may be the reason.

Yes this is true the upgraded comms can be fitted on the VC-25 airframe, we all know this. What is not being thought of here is that to run the battlespace you need the personnel on hand to do this, and the VC-25 just doesn't have the space for a general level staff and coordination.

On the issue with SECDEF taking the E-4 overseas, is for continuity of government. If a strike was carried out against Washington that took out the president SECDEF would assume the presidency and be with the E-4 to mount a counterattack. The E-4 also gives him the range and capability needed to fly home without landing, this could of course be done with a Gulfstream, but the last time I checked a Gulfstream didn't have seats for 50 people.
 
zanl188
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Fri May 18, 2012 11:52 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 22):
There are many things that our military has that may never be used, nuclear weapons have only been used in combat twice, ballistic missile submarines, B-52's, B-1's, B-2's loaded with nukes, land based ICBM, the list goes on.

It's all based on continuity of government and mutually assured destruction. That we have the capability to make a return strike against an adversary is the reason we have these tools. I hope and pray that we never have to use them again, but it's also the reason why we have them.

Is this cold war mentality still relevant? B-1s (& B-52s?) no longer carry nukes. Many SSBNs have been laid up or converted to other uses. When that happened the need for an airborne command post went away and, accordingly, the name of the aircraft changed for NEACP to NAOC. The NAOC people went looking for a new mission about the same time SECDEF was looking for enhanced communications on his aircraft, and voila the E-4 was saved from the budget chopping block.

Oh, regarding succession of government... SECDEF is well down the list:


•The Vice President Joseph Biden
•Speaker of the House John Boehner
•President pro tempore of the Senate Daniel Inouye
•Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
•Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
•Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
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BladeLWS
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Sat May 19, 2012 12:31 am

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 23):
Is this cold war mentality still relevant? B-1s (& B-52s?) no longer carry nukes. Many SSBNs have been laid up or converted to other uses. When that happened the need for an airborne command post went away and, accordingly, the name of the aircraft changed for NEACP to NAOC. The NAOC people went looking for a new mission about the same time SECDEF was looking for enhanced communications on his aircraft, and voila the E-4 was saved from the budget chopping block.

Oh, regarding succession of government... SECDEF is well down the list:


•The Vice President Joseph Biden
•Speaker of the House John Boehner
•President pro tempore of the Senate Daniel Inouye
•Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
•Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
•Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

It's not a cold war mentality, its a reality, there are countries out there with nuclear weapons that do not like us. It's no longer a US vs USSR world, it's against that small country with the one nuke with an itchy trigger finger. B-1's and B-52's no longer carry nukes on alert, but can easily be brought back to readiness if needed. Only four SSBN's have been converted to other uses, the rest of the fleet is still active.

When I meant succession of government I meant that it allows SECDEF to still have a way to fight a war if the above people were taken out, as he is the most qualified of any of the above save for the VP. Russia has their own counterpart the Il-80.

So back to the OP. Can the functions of the E-4B be put into the VC-25? Sure, with modern computers and antennas you could fit it all on there but at that point you've got to much info coming in and no way to interpet it without people. Let alone that you're now having to keep one of two aircraft on 24 alert.

We need to face facts here and the E-4 is still a vital aircraft, it's being used as both a nuclear command post and a general emergency center (natural disaster etc), and no other plane can do that at this time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3bo9z_rMpw
 
B727LVR
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Tue May 22, 2012 6:17 am

I dont see the Navy's E6's being replaced anytime soon. They have all been upgraded to the E6B model with the 737 NG cockpit (last one upgraded in 2006), among other upgrades. Plus the navy has 16 with the last one being delievered in 1991, so they are relatively low time airframes, compared to similar/civilian airframes. Also the TACAMO role will not be going away anytime soon either as mentioned in the above posts.
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Stitch
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Tue May 22, 2012 1:16 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 24):
It's no longer a US vs USSR world, it's against that small country with the one nuke with an itchy trigger finger.

And yet with only one nuke, they can only take out Washington, and even then the Pentagon's distance could mean it's still battle-capable.

And even if it is not, since they only have one nuke, Barksdale Air Force Base will still be there and with it the Air Force Global Strike Command who can provide the President all the support he needs to "send that country back to The Stone Age".
 
fsnuffer
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RE: Air Force One And The E4B

Tue May 22, 2012 4:37 pm

Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 22):
On the issue with SECDEF taking the E-4 overseas, is for continuity of government. If a strike was carried out against Washington that took out the president SECDEF would assume the presidency and be with the E-4 to mount a counterattack.

There is also the need for crew training and currency. The aircrew have to get so many hours of actual flying time a year to remain current. You can either burn those hours up flying donuts 30,000 feet above Omaha for thirteen hours or you could log the time flying SECDEF around to training.

[Edited 2012-05-22 09:40:14]

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