- Looking Glass (airplane)
Looking Glass (or Operation Looking Glass) is the code name for an airborne command center currently operated by the U.S. Navy. It provides command and control of U.S. nuclear forces in the event that ground-based command centers are destroyed or rendered inoperable.The Looking Glass was initiated by the U.S. Air Force's
Strategic Air Commandin 1961.
The command center is referred to as "Looking Glass" because its mission mirrors ground-based command, control, and communications. It has also been called (much less frequently) the "
Doomsdayplane," since one of its roles would be to direct NORADforces and help ensure continuity of government in the event of a massive nuclear attack on North America(this latter nickname may also refer to the Nightwatch mission and/or aircraft, however). Looking Glass can refer to both the Looking Glass mission and the Looking Glass aircraft itself.
Strategic Air Commandbegan the mission on February 3, 1961, using EC-135C aircraft based at its headquartersat Offutt AFB, Nebraska. Looking Glass aircraft were airborne 24 hours a day for over 29 years, until July 24, 1990, when "The Glass" ceased continuous airborne alert, but remained on ground or airborne alert 24 hours a day.
Today, the EC-135C has been replaced with the
E-6 Mercury TACAMOcommanded by USSTRATCOM, which is also based at Offutt AFB.
On October 1, 1998, the U.S. Navy's fleet of E-6Bs replaced the EC-135C in performing the "Looking Glass" mission, previously carried out for 37 years by the U.S. Air Force. This new mission allows the President and the Secretary of Defense direct command and control capability for America's strategic forces of ballistic nuclear missile
submarines, intercontinental nuclear missiles and strategic bombers. With the assumption of this new mission, a battle staff now flies with the TACAMOcrew. [ [http://www.tacamo.navy.mil/wing/index.asp TACAMO - Take Charge And Move Out ] ]
There is some speculation that the "mystery plane" seen flying over the
White Houseon 9/11was some newer incarnation of Project Looking Glass. Maj. Gen. Don Shepherd (Ret.), speaking on the cable news channel CNNon September 12, 2007, stated that the plane circling the White House on 9/11 resembled an E-4B, and appeared to be equipped with the same communications pod typical of the "Doomsday plane." As noted above, however, this term can also refer to Nightwatch aircraft.
*Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post ("Nightwatch")
Continuity of Operations Plan
Single Integrated Operational Plan
Nuclear utilization target selection
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