US has 16 E-6B Doomsday Planes

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drdispatch

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I would believe the zig-zag route in the link posted by MtnBiker2005 before the loop-de-loop track.
Those TWA's (Trailing Wire Antennas) have to be straight & level. If you flew tight circles with the wire extended, at best the drogue end would sag several hundred feet; and at worst, you'd end up circling around to meet the thing. And maybe sucking it into an engine.
The EC-135 Looking Glass birds out of Offutt would fly an oval pattern and let the wire out on the straightaway and reel it back in before they got to the curve. They also had to watch the drogue for spin, because they didn't want the wire (which is actually a woven steel cable) to twist.
Interesting too that the track began (or ended?) at Tinker; that's probably where they go for depot-level maintenance.
 

Hooligan

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Interesting too that the track began (or ended?) at Tinker; that's probably where they go for depot-level maintenance.
Tinker is their main operating base. Travis AFB & NAS Pax River are their primary forward operating locations, but they TDY to other forward operating locations around the world & for obvious reasons, have a presence at Offutt AFB.

In peacetime, they're required to only do TWA ops over large bodies of water.

 

drdispatch

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Offutt's TWA flights were usually over the Gulf of Mexico. The training flight I went on made several HF contacts while the wire was out; MacDill, Barksdale, Looking Glass, the AWACS, and NEACP. They had to reel out the wire as soon as they got on the straightaway, make a contact, then reel the wire back in before the turn. (I was a little bummed that they didn't let me use the radio, but I did get to make a phone call via satellite to my boss.)
 

Xray

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I would believe the zig-zag route in the link posted by MtnBiker2005 before the loop-de-loop track.
Those TWA's (Trailing Wire Antennas) have to be straight & level. If you flew tight circles with the wire extended, at best the drogue end would sag several hundred feet; and at worst, you'd end up circling around to meet the thing. And maybe sucking it into an engine.
The EC-135 Looking Glass birds out of Offutt would fly an oval pattern and let the wire out on the straightaway and reel it back in before they got to the curve. They also had to watch the drogue for spin, because they didn't want the wire (which is actually a woven steel cable) to twist.
Interesting too that the track began (or ended?) at Tinker; that's probably where they go for depot-level maintenance.
Probable that the hand drawn circles are a rough approximation and not exactly drawn to scale or meant to portray the exact track, in fact they look like they were scrawled in a paint program.
 

redbeard

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Probable that the hand drawn circles are a rough approximation and not exactly drawn to scale or meant to portray the exact track, in fact they look like they were scrawled in a paint program.
The circles weren't hand-drawn by anyone. This is the exact track of the plane from the output of the plane's ADS-B transponder transmissions, shown on a map by adsbexchange.com.

 

nr2d

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I saw a news article on CNN about a report of a Russian spy ship operating of the coast of South Carolina. Could be related to this.
 

RadioDitch

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The circles weren't hand-drawn by anyone. This is the exact track of the plane from the output of the plane's ADS-B transponder transmissions, shown on a map by adsbexchange.com.

It's showing both flight paths depending on which ADS-B server/service you view. Either way FWIW, looking back in the collective logs, there were a few messages around the same time over Global and there had been reports of a sub on the surface off Highlands the day before.

Anybody know of any exercises publicized around that time period?
 

CORN

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I always thought the E-4B was considered the “doomsday plane”. Learn something new everyday.
 

drdispatch

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I always thought the E-4B was considered the “doomsday plane”. Learn something new everyday.
Yes, pretty much. If the E-4 launched with the POTUS, SECDEF, JCS, NCA, etc. on board, that would be a "Doomsday Scenario".

In my day (70's & 80's), there was always an EC-135 "Looking Glass" aircraft airborne; 24/7/365. They carried a complement of battle staff, comms folks and a General, who had the responsibility to act in place of CINCSAC in the event of the destruction of the SAC Command Post at Offutt. He had a big red lockbox on board with the SIOP, launch codes, and everything needed to bring about the end of the world. He could even take over the Emergency Broadcast System and broadcast the "AMF YOYO" speech. ("Adios, *My Friends*; You're On Your Own.) The TACAMO mission was carried out by a pair of C-130's; one on the East Coast, one on the West Coast. The E-6 was developed to replace both aircraft and assume both of those missions. After the end of the Cold War (the main act, anyway), it was decided that it was no longer necessary to keep a Looking Glass flight up all the time. The AF still maintains a fleet of EC- and RC-135's for PACCS (Post-Attack Command & Control System) and ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) purposes.

Aside from training missions and "Training Missions", everything pretty much stays on the ground now. At Offutt, we always used to say that if we saw everybody and their brother running out to their various aircraft, followed by the ramp being emptied into the sky, we probably had just enough time to go to our dorm, crack open a cold one, and climb up to the roof to "work on our tan"......

(*-*: Insert preferred colorful metaphor here.)
 
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TerryPavlick

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From the article.....
The E-6B's primary VLF antenna is just over five miles long. It also has a shorter one that is deployed via a trapdoor arrangement in its tail. The VLF antennas are stabilized with a drogue on its trailing end. The idea is to get the antennas as close to vertical as possible for maximum transmission effectiveness. This is done by putting the aircraft into a very steep and tight banking turn at slow speed and above 20,000 feet, not far above the aircraft's stall speed. These turns are repeated, oftentimes for hours at a time, as messages are sent.

So flat and level in reality is straight and vertical....

78463
 

drdispatch

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From the article.....
The E-6B's primary VLF antenna is just over five miles long. It also has a shorter one that is deployed via a trapdoor arrangement in its tail. The VLF antennas are stabilized with a drogue on its trailing end. The idea is to get the antennas as close to vertical as possible for maximum transmission effectiveness. This is done by putting the aircraft into a very steep and tight banking turn at slow speed and above 20,000 feet, not far above the aircraft's stall speed. These turns are repeated, oftentimes for hours at a time, as messages are sent.

So flat and level in reality is straight and vertical....

View attachment 78463
That's interesting. Maybe the loop makes for a more directional radiation pattern, better to penetrate the ocean down to the depths needed to reach a submerged submarine. The HF wire had to be straight, but then they were only making airborne and ground-based contacts.
 

TerryPavlick

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That's interesting. Maybe the loop makes for a more directional radiation pattern, better to penetrate the ocean down to the depths needed to reach a submerged submarine. The HF wire had to be straight, but then they were only making airborne and ground-based contacts.
The loop or tight turns are required to keep the wire vertical - otherwise if they flew straight - the wire would begin to trail behind them and would gradually become straight and level - but then they could not communicate with the sub.

from various source on the internet....Vertical antennas must be used because VLF waves propagate in vertical polarization

and here is a good read...https://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/c3i/e-6.htm

The improvements probably are why the E6A is now a E6B !

Orbit Improvement Program

The E-6A communications relay mission is accomplished by trailing dual wire antennas while performing a continuous orbit maneuver. It is essential that the wires obtain as near a vertical attitude as possible for optimum very low frequency connectivity. Currently, there exists orbit control problems and wire/tail contact causing bank-angle restrictions which precludes the E-6A from obtaining optimal wire verticality. Modifications to the avionics systems are required to meet the orbit operational requirements. The E-6A Orbit Improvement Program, which corrects theE-6A deficiency, consists of the installation of autothrottles and software improvements to the Flight Management Computer System (FMCS).

The FMCS will be modified to implement the contractor developed orbit algorithm, with interfaces to the digital autopilot. The system is designed to provide fail-safe capabilities. These modifications will fine tune bank-angle and airspeed inputs enabling the aircraft to fly an orbit which maximizes the verticality of the antennas thus ensuring connectivity to the strategic forces.

An E-6A autothrottle system will be developed based on existing Boeing 737 commercial equipment.

The orbit improvement system does not present any threat shortfalls to the TACAMO mission environment. There are no major cost, schedule, or performance tradeoffs to be performed. A feasibility study for the autothrottle program was previously authorized. Based on preliminary results and background data associated with commercial applications, the orbital improvement control system approach to correcting theE-6A deficiency was the only practical approach. Adaptation of an existing commercial system rather than developing a new system significantly reduces costs without increasing technical risk.

Production was planned for Fiscal Year (FY) 95 through FY 98 with 15 aircraft installations, plus 3 trainers, in addition to a previous engineering and manufacturing development installation for a total of 16 aircraft.

The Orbit Improvement Program will enable the fleet to perform current and projected operational tasking effectively and reliably through the twenty-first century.
 

William2910

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I get the feeling the classic movies will be in many folks to watch list this weekend such as by dawns early light.

On a serious note though I believe china, Russia and Iran are doing a joint mass naval exercise this weekend and through out the week coming.

So could be why.
 

drdispatch

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I get the feeling the classic movies will be in many folks to watch list this weekend such as by dawns early light.

On a serious note though I believe china, Russia and Iran are doing a joint mass naval exercise this weekend and through out the week coming.

So could be why.
I just watched "The Sum of All Fears" last night!
 

Haley

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Is it normal for five E6 to be up at the same time over CONUS?? As of right now that's the case.
 

Haley

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I usually have one close by somewhere, I hear the data streams on 383.5500. TITHE17 has been around my area for the last week or so. Maybe 6 is normal? I always assumed 2 were up most of the time. But I admit I had not really used the ADS-B site-----but I do now though.
 
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