A couple of weeks after it secured a $13 billion contract to supply the Air Force’s replacement for the E-4B Nightwatch airborne command and control aircraft, Sierra Nevada Corporation bought five Boeing 787-8s from Korean Airlines for about $135 million each. Since the contract stipulates four-engine aircraft for what has been renamed the Survivable Airborne Operations Center (SAOC). SNC hasn’t confirmed the Korean planes will be used for the contract but there’s not much doubt about that. The 747 is no longer in production so the used market was the only place to go for replacement platforms.

The airline announced the sale, noting it’s part of a fleet modernization program that will see the acquisition of modern twin-engine long range aircraft. SNC has until 2036 to deliver the new planes, which will be crammed with electronics hardened to withstand the electromagnetic energy of nuclear attacks so that battle front communications and nuclear weapons control can be maintained.

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