By Paul Bentley
8th June 2011
It can withstand nuclear blasts and asteroids, can stay in the air for days without refuelling and has the capacity to run the country or even a global war, the President's 'doomsday' plane is a steal at just over $220million.
The U.S. Air Force has offered a rare glimpse inside its 'doomsday' plane, built to protect the President and his inner circle from the ultimate worst-case scenarios.
Fitted with radiation and electromagnetic pulse shields and able to launch within minutes, the $223million plane is on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Unlike Air Force One, which acts as the President's regular means of long-distance transport, the plane is specifically designed to run the government and the military from the air in the event of nuclear war.
Filling up: The plane can refuel in mid-air meaning it doesn't have to land for days
The aircraft, which was last airborne in a crisis during the 911 terror attacks, runs on 165,000 pounds of state of the art electronics and is protected by an electromagnetic pulse shield.
The equipment on board is so powerful a specially upgraded air conditioning system is required to keep the electronics cool enough to work efficiently - and a specially trained team of tech-whizzes stay on board to man the devices.
Despite its size, the modified 747 can fly for days without refuelling and all E-4B aircraft, as they are technically known, can reach speeds up to 620 miles per hour, 40 miles per hour faster than their commercial counterparts.
Phone call: The plane can communicate with the nuclear submarines by extending a five miles cable out of the back
Armed forces: The plane has it's own own protection and whenever it lands is immediately surrounded
All aboard: The President on Air Force One. Although the two planes have similarities, the 'doomsday' plane is designed for a state of Armageddon
People travelling on board can communicate with anyone on the ground and even nuclear submarines can be reached underwater when a five-mile long cable is extended out of the back of the plane for reception.
'[We] drop is down and [it] transmits coded message traffic to U.S. submarines,' Captain W. Scott Ryder told ABC News.
DOOMSDAY PLANE: THE ESSENTIAL STATS
Power Plant: Four General Electric CF6-50E2 turbofan engines
Thrust: 52,500 pounds each engine
Wingspan: 195 feet, 8 inches (59.7 meters)
Length: 231 feet, 4 inches (70.5 meters)
Height: 63 feet, 5 inches (19.3 meters)
Weight: 410,000 pounds (185,973 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 800,000 pounds (360,000 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 410,000 (185,973 kilograms)
Speed: 620 miles per hour (539 knots)
Crew: Up to 112 (flight crew and mission crew)
Unit Cost: $223.2 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
(Source U.S. Air Force)
'Give us the phone number of anybody, anytime, anyplace, anywhere on earth, we can get a hold of them,' Master Sergeant Joe Stuart of the U.S. Air Force added.
Aside from all the technology fitted in the plane, it also travels with an elite security team.
'The first people off of the airplane are these guys, they'll position themselves appropriately around the airplane,' Ryder said.
'The secretary also has his own small security staff that does similar things. So these guys are predominately designed to protect our airplane, and the secretary's staff protects him, as an individual.'
The men sleep nearby so the plane can launch within five minutes of an attack. It was mobilised, for instance, in the moments after the initial strikes on 9/11.
'If the command centres that are on the ground in the United States have a failure of some sort, or attack, we immediately get airborne. We're on alert 24/7, 365,' Ryder said. 'Constantly there's at least one alert airplane waiting to get airborne.'
For all the perks, the 'doomsday' plane does, however, have its drawbacks.The bathrooms are tiny, with sinks but no showers.
'It's like being Fedexed,' one officer told ABC News. 'It's fairly Spartan, with no windows or anything.'