Russia has begun building a replacement for its nuclear-resistant airborne command center, RIA Novosti reported, citing a source.
The two “doomsday” planes will be based on the Ilyushin Il-96-400M long-range airliner model unlike the current Il-80s, which are a modified version of the Il-86 passenger aircraft, the state-owned outlet added. A third aircraft is also possible in the future.
As things stand, the Russian Aerospace Forces currently have four Il-80 air command posts. Made originally during the Soviet period, the planes are based on the Il-86 passenger aircraft, flown for many years by the likes of Aeroflot. The aircraft is designed to fly the president and other high-ranking officials to safety in the event of a nuclear attack.
The US equivalent is the Boeing E-4B, which is based on the Boeing 747. The windowless plane’s body is “hardened” to resist electromagnetic pulses and nuclear shockwaves with filtered air conditioning to keep out the radioactivity. The new aircraft, meanwhile, will have twice the range of its predecessor’s 3,600 kilometers (2,237 miles), RIA revealed.
“The aircraft’s radio complex will make it possible to deliver orders to the troops, including strategic aviation, mobile, and silo launchers, submarines, and carriers of strategic nuclear weapons within a radius of 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles),” the outlet reported.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
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