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MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. The airborne command and control centre jets, also called Doomsday Planes, can be used for 25-30 years, general designer of Russia’s Ilyushin company Nikolay Talikov said on Wednesday.
"The planes can be used for 25-30 years. These aircraft have not depleted their resource. The have the relevant plans. Every year we deal with various aircraft, including these jets. We extend their operational lifetime," he said.
The airborne command and control centre jets were dubbed the "Doomsday Planes" in the United States: they were designed as national airborne operations centres that could be used by the senior military leaders in case of a nuclear war or other very serious conflict, in a situation where the ground-based command and control facilities are destroyed. The best-known models of such specialized aircraft are the American E-4B aircraft based on the Boeing 747 and Russia’s Ilyushin IL-80 jet, based on the passenger plane IL-86.
America’s four National Airborne Operations Centre planes, each a militarized Boeing 747-200 called an E-4B, offer senior military leaders the most complete and sophisticated airborne communications platform in the world, according to US media reports.
Russia’s IL-80 (NATO reporting name: Maxdome) is in service with the 8th Special Purpose Aviation Division, at Chkalovsky Airport, near Moscow. The aircraft is meant to keep the top Russian officials, including the President, alive and safe in case of nuclear war: for this reason, the Maxdome does not feature any external windows (other than the cockpit windshield) and it is equipped with domes, bulges and antennas meant to block EMP, RF pulse, and to shield against nuclear blasts while ensuring the ability to communicate with other assets including ballistic missile submarines when the ground infrastructure is heavily damaged or destroyed.
Previous reports said that the work on the third generation of these aircraft was underway.