June 26 (UPI) -- Strategic Missile Systems has been awarded a $73.1 million contract to support national and nuclear communications for the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center aircraft fleet.
The contract will provide for software and engineering services, field representatives, mission support facilities management and materials, the Department of Defense announced Friday.
Work will be conducted at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., Richardson, Texas, and Midwest City, Okla., and is expected to be completed by June 24, 2024. Fiscal 2017 Air Force operations and maintenance funding in the amount of $4.7 million will be obligated upon award. The contract was the product of competitive acquisition, with one bid received.
The E-4B NAOC is a militarized version of the Boeing 747-200 commercial airliner. Referred to as the 'doomsday' plane, it serves as a command-and-control center and safe haven for key U.S. officials in case of national emergencies such as nuclear attack or other calamities.
It is designed to accommodate the president, secretary of defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff and support personnel for extended periods with its 12-hour endurance supplemented by in-flight refueling. It has conference, briefing, communications and rest areas to accommodate up to 112 people.
The E-4B is specially hardened to counter the effects produced by nuclear detonations, including electromagnetic pulses that can damage electronics and thermal flash burns. It has sophisticated satellite communications allowing contact with U.S. forces and governments anywhere in the world.
The doomsday fleet has been in service since 1980, and the Air Force is considering developing an aircraft to replace both the E-4B and the Navy's E-6B command-and-control planes in the future.