The Contrails: Aircraft, Weapons Systems: E-4B

An Air Force E-4B flies over the Canadian Pacific coast, Wash., April 10, 2014. Air Combat Command is the Air Force single-resource manager for the E-4B, and provides aircrew, maintenance, security and communications support. E-4B operations are directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and executed through U.S. Strategic Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mary O'Dell)

An Air Force E-4B flies over the Canadian Pacific coast, Wash., April 10, 2014. Air Combat Command is the Air Force single-resource manager for the E-4B, and provides aircrew, maintenance, security and communications support. E-4B operations are directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and executed through U.S. Strategic Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mary O'Dell)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Manufacturer: Boeing

Function: Airborne Operations Center

Service Date: 1980

Speed: 602 mph 

Crew: Up to 112

Production: 4 Inventory: 4

Commentary: Serves as the National Airborne Operations Center for the President, Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This aircraft provides a highly survivable, command, control, and communications center to direct US forces, execute emergency war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities. This system improves worldwide communications among strategic and tactical satellite systems and the airborne operations center.