The award relates to an existing sole-source contract under which Boeing serves as Product Service Integrator on the E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post platform, performing maintenance, modification, and support services on the planes. Present plans call for the E-4Bs to remain in service through at least 2015.
Dubbed "Nightwatch" by the military (and unofficially called "the Doomsday Plane"), the E-4B fleet consists of four modified Boeing 747 aircraft which are designed to keep the U.S. president and Secretary of Defense safe, airborne, and in control of U.S. military forces in the event of a nuclear conflict. All four planes are shielded to be resistant to the radiation and thermal effects of atomic weapons, as well as having electronics hardened to survive electromagnetic pulses.
The planes are operated out of Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb., by the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the U.S. Air Force's 55th Wing.