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.
Designed to Survive Nuclear Attack
The aircraft is designed to fly the president and other high-ranking officials to safety in the event of a nuclear attack. Its 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.
Russia operates four Il-80s aircraft, which flew for the first time in 1987 and were activated for use in 1992. The aircraft can use any civilian or military airfield for takeoff and landing and features the most up-to-date communication facilities. Its air refueling capacity and life support system allow the aircraft to remain airborne for extended periods of time.
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.