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Air Force launches E-4B replacement program

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posted on Dec, 5 2019 @ 02:06 PM
The Air Force has formally kicked off the E-4B replacement program, known as SAOC. The aircraft will be known as Survivable Airborne Operations Center. The first step in the program will be an industry day, to be held at Hanscome AFB in February. Potential contractors will be briefed on the acquisition program schedule.

The only details released to date about the program is that the new aircraft will be a commercial derivative. One option will be a new 747-8 based aircraft. That would give them commonality with the VC-25B. The current aircraft are based on the 747-200, which is the same aircraft the VC-25A is based on.

Another option is a 767 based aircraft, which would fit with the KC-46. This would give the Air Force a much larger supply base, but possibly not as much communications gear mounted.

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 04:09 AM
How survivable is survivable these days..?

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 04:57 AM
a reply to: Blackfinger

Similar to NAOC. Capable of operating post strike.

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 08:14 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

what do you think 1 billion per plane?

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 09:06 AM
a reply to: mightmight

Considering they're probably looking at a similar sized fleet, somewhere close to that.

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 01:33 PM
So just for giggles - kick the press off of the VC-25Bs and put com guys in the rear. No need for a dedicated airplane the NCA would be able to board in time anyway.

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 03:45 PM
There are some Airbus A380s going cheap.

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 04:39 PM
a reply to: paraphi

i always hoped some of this mystery craft that got photographed awhile ago was going to be the replacement for these types of aircraft

posted on Dec, 6 2019 @ 11:20 PM
Depends on how many mystery craft were built for such activities..

posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 10:12 AM
I wish I understood things like this better...

Why wouldn't we use completely proprietary aircraft for things like this completely customized from the ground up for the job... Like they did with the F-117

It blows my mind that things like this and Air Force 1 are just 747s with a bunch of stuff strapped to them.

I would think they would make completely customized high tech airframes, with crazy future tech, features, and mobility.

Wouldn't it make sense for air Force one or these mobile command centers to have the size of a 747 but the ability to outrun and out manuever an F-35?

It blows my mind that we aren't more advanced than this. We have had the tech to do it for 70+ years

posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 12:10 PM
a reply to: Lucidparadox

You can't make a large aircraft that can maneuver like that. The reason these are commercial derivatives is because of the numbers bought. With only two VC-25s and 4 E-4Bs, designing and buying a custom designed airframe would be incredibly expensive. As it is now, the two VC-25Bs to replace the current aircraft are looking to cost around $2B each.

posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 03:03 PM
Not surprising at all and in fact there are a plethora of air frames that will need to be changed in the years ahead like the RC's and the E-6's

So what are the options:

747. Seems the front runner for sure. Most of the newer systems will already be in development for the VC-25B, Its US built etc etc. Not to mention it is in production unlike.....

A380: Not built in the US. and it will soon be out of production. No commonality with the VC-25. No track record of the ability to be heavily modified etc. Its huge however and could house more people/gear that the 747 but than again it can weight up to 250000 pounds more which could be an issue as to where to land it in a SHTF type deal

777-X Possibly. Its decent sized and may be able to hold all of the gear / staff. They also did some designs pitching it as a KC so they have looked at military mods already. The issue with this and the A350/787 is the all composite wing. Im no physicist but that wing of the 777X and the whole aircraft 350/787 may require more testing for the EMP requirements etc.

787/330/350 are all too small IMHO

If you wanted to go bare bones and austere you could in theory redo the B-2's when the B-21's come online. They have provision for a 3rd crew which you could remake into an mini but spartan suite and use the bomb bays for the necessary comm gear. Way survivable and hard to target but that's more fantasy than reality.

So the 747-8 is the goto IMHO

posted on Dec, 7 2019 @ 03:15 PM
a reply to: FredT

I'm betting on the 747-8. That gives the VC-25 crews a platform to use to keep their currency updated without flying the VC-25s more than they need to.

posted on Dec, 8 2019 @ 03:16 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

748 w/ 2 GE9Xs & 2 GEnx

posted on Dec, 8 2019 @ 04:48 AM
a reply to: Masisoar
Errr, no. Thats a regular 744 with 3 CF-6-80C2's and one GE-9X on test. As far as I am aware, no one other than Boeing has ever had a 748 test article and I'm not even sure they currently have one either.

posted on Dec, 8 2019 @ 11:14 AM
a reply to: thebozeian

Aware lol, wasn't being serious

posted on Oct, 6 2020 @ 03:08 PM
The RFP was supposed to drop in December, but the program has been reclassified as an Acquisition Category 1D program, which will delay the initial RFP.

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