Arriving from VQ-4 Sqn based at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, will be an E-6B Mercury reconnaissance aircraft from the US Navy.
The aircraft, which is derived from a commercial Boeing 707, provides a strategic airborne command post and communications relay platform. Not only does it convey instructions from the National Command Authority to its fleet ballistic missile submarines. It can also command and control US nuclear forces should ground base control become inoperable.
Primary Function: Communications relay for fleet ballistic missile submarines and airborne command post for US Strategic forces.
Date Deployed: October 1998.
Unit Cost: £88.8 million.
Propulsion: Four CFM-56-2A-2 High bypass turbofans.
Length: 150ft 4ins (45.8 metres).
Height: 42ft 5ins (12.9 metres).
Wingspan: 148 feet, 4 inches (45.2 metres).
Weight: Max gross, take-off 342,000lbs (154,400kg).
Airspeed: 522 knots, 600mph.
Ceiling: Above 40,000 feet.
Range: 6,600 nautical miles with 6 hours loiter time.