The E-4B is designed to survive an EMP with systems intact, and has state-of-the-art direct fire countermeasures. The aircraft were originally stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, so that the U.S.
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To create the E-4 series, four Boeing 747-200 airframes were specially modified to serve as a survivable mobile command post for the National Command Authority, namely the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and successors.
The aircraft was to provide a survivable platform to conduct war operations in the event of a nuclear attack. With the adoption of two highly-modified Boeing 747-200Bs (known as VC-25A in Air Force parlance) to serve as Air Force One in 1989, and the end of the Cold War, the need for NEACP diminished. The E-4B is capable of operating with a crew of 48 to 112 people, the largest crew of any aircraft in US Air Force history. The spacious interior and sophisticated communications capability provided by the aircraft allow the Secretary's senior staff to work for the duration of the mission. In 1994, NEACP began to be known as NAOC, and it took on a new responsibility: ferrying Federal Emergency Management Agency crews to natural disaster sites and serving as a temporary command post on the ground until facilities could be built on site.


With in-flight refueling it is capable of remaining airborne for a considerable period (limited only by consumption of the engines' lubricants).
Later, the aircraft were moved to Offutt Air Force Base where they would be safer from attack. Evidently no E-4B was employed during the Hurricane Katrina Disaster of 2005, though one E-4B was used by FEMA following Hurricane Opal in 1995. In a test flight for endurance, the aircraft remained airborne and fully operational for 35.4 hours.
Until 1994, one E-4B was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base at all times so the President could easily board it in times of world crisis. Those crew members not on watch would be in the alert barracks, gymnasium, or at other base facilities. The 24 hour alert status at Andrews AFB ended when President Clinton ordered the aircraft to remain at Offutt unless needed, though relief crews remain based at Andrews and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.



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