Most people have heard of Airforce One, but many people don’t realize that it takes a lot more than one plane to make presidential travel possible. In fact, there are often close to a dozen different planes and vehicles that go with him wherever he goes.
While Airforce One is good for flying in comfort around the country or the world, it’s defenses and capabilities are nothing compared to what has been affectionately termed the “doomsday” planes. Here are five facts about these mysterious planes you should know.
They Are Fully Protected Against Radiation And EMPs
Originally conceived of and created during the Cold War, the “doomsday” planes are designed to be a combination skyborne bunker and war chamber for the top U.S. officials in the event of a nuclear war, or similar level threat.
These planes are equipped with special radiation shields that protect it in the event of nuclear fallout or electromagnetic pulse radiation which shorts out anything using electricity.
They Can Refuel in the Air
These planes don’t have to touch back down to refuel. In fact, while it’s never been attempted before, the planes are designed to be able to remain in flight for an entire week without landing.
But at least one of the planes has flown for well over 24 hours in a single flight before. Talk about cabin fever!
They Use Old-School Tech To Prevent Cyber-attacks
In order to prevent cyber-attacks or EMP damage to the plane, the pilots use mostly analog instruments in the cockpit. After all, you can’t hack into something without a computer.
But while that might seem like a cause for concern, these are highly tested top-of-the-line analog instruments, so even without the computer chip, they are definitely reliable.
They Are Crazy Expensive To Use
These planes take a crew of over 100 personnel to operate and cost almost $160,000 an hour to fly.
Of course, a plane that weighs up to 800,000 lbs and has a top speed of over 600mph is going to cost a pretty penny. Not to mention the awesome amount of communications technology included on the plane, such as a five-mile-long antenna which can be used for direct communications with submarines from the air.
There is One Running All the Time
When the president is in the United States, one of these planes is standing by, engine on and ready, 24 hours a day. It can be ready to leave with as little as 15 minutes notice.
When the president travels, one of the planes flies with Airforce One at all times.
The purpose of these “doomsday” planes is to ensure that, should the worst ever happen, our elected leaders will be around to respond to the threat and help restore peace and prosperity to the U.S. So why do most Americans have no idea they even exist? Well, for whatever reason, the Airforce doesn’t like talking about them. In fact, we only recently learned about them, and now you have too!