Boeing EC-135 Military Aircraft
Built as a joint project for NASA and the DoD to support the US space program in the late 1960's as a Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft and also serve as Command post aircraft, the Boeing EC-135 was based on a Boeing 707-320 airframe, the Advanced Range Instrumentation variant was fitted with a large nose bulge to contain a seven-foot steerable antenna dish, the fuselage was packed with tracking and telemetry equipment, it was used to track Apollo missions, Space Shuttle missions, cruise missile and ballistic missile test flights.
In "Operation Looking Glass" a command post aircraft to the Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command, capable of directing US nuclear forces in time of war should ground stations no longer be able to do so, the aircraft tasked with this was called "Looking Glass" and was a EC-135C. From a fleet of eleven EC-135C aircraft one at least was always airborne from 1961 until 1980 in the "Looking Glass" role, the last operational example was retired in the year 2000
Boeing EC-135 command post aircraft included:
- Looking Glass - Command post aircraft to Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC) Offutt AFB or Ellsworth AFB
- Silk Purse - Command post aircraft to Commander in Chief, U.S. European Command (USCINCEUR) based at RAF Mildenhall in the UK
- Scope Light - Command post aircraft to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) based at Langley AFB
- Blue Eagle - Command post aircraft to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (USCINCPAC) based at Hickam AFB
- Nightwatch - Command post aircraft to the President of the United States based at Andrews AFB (Replaced by the E-4, a modified Boeing 747-200 in 1974)
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Boeing EC-135 Military Aircraft Picture & Information