Russia’s new Airborne Command Post, dubbed as “Doomsday plane,” will be built on the basis of an Ilyushin Il-96-400M quadjet long-haul wide-body airliner.
Airborne Command Posts were nicknamed Doomsday planes in the United States, as they are designed for use in the event of a nuclear war or a major disaster that destroys ground-based command infrastructure.
The aircraft is derived from Il-80. Later it was built on the basis of Il-96-400 commercial aircraft airframe. First third-generation Doomsday plane was delivered in August 2016. Russia reportedly has 4 such planes with service life of 25-30 years currently in service.
"It is scheduled to replace it with an Il-96-400M. It will allow to significantly increase the period of airborne combat duty and to extend the radius for troop command," an aircraft industry source told TASS.
The best-known jets of this class are US-made E-4B, based on Boeing 747, and Russian Il-80, based on Il-86 passenger jets. Other aircraft of comparable roles and configuration include Boeing E-6 Mercury and Northrop Grumman E-10 MC2A.