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Air Force Drops Boeing from Consideration in ‘Doomsday Plane’ Contest

Air Air Force Drops Boeing from Consideration in 'Doomsday Plane' ContestDrops Boeing from Consideration in 'Doomsday Plane' Contest

Boeing confirmed on Friday that the U.S. Air Force eliminated Boeing from the competition to develop an E-4B Nightwatch replacement, reversing the competition to build the next generation of aircraft known as the “Doomsday Plane” because of its ability to withstand a nuclear war.

The E-4B Nightwatch, also referred to as the “Doomsday Plane,” is a modified Boeing 747-200B used in military operations. It is built to resist the electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion and functions as the National Airborne Operations Centre. The aircraft is capable of conducting routine training and readiness missions while staying in the air for several days.


Boeing and the Air Force were unable to agree on data rights and contract terms, according to Reuters. This was partly due to Boeing’s refusal to sign a fixed-price agreement that would have required it to pay for costs over a predetermined amount.

A major change in the military aircraft manufacturing landscape has occurred with Boeing’s removal from the ‘Doomsday Plane‘ competition. It’s unclear who will step up to take over Boeing’s position as the US Air Force works to update its aircraft and remain prepared for changing international threats.


According to budget documents, the Air Force intends to continue developing SOAC with spending of $889 million in fiscal 2024 and $8.3 billion through fiscal 2028. Early in the 2030s, the E-4B is anticipated to reach the end of its operational lifespan.