The Boeing E-6 Mercury is an airborne command post and communications relay based on the Boeing 707-320 airframe.
The original E-6A manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems entered service with the U.S. Navy in July 1989, replacing the EC-130Q. It conveyed instructions from the National Command Authority to fleet ballistic missile submarines, a mission known as TACAMO (“Take Charge and Move Out”). The E-6B model deployed in October 1998 kept this role but added further command post capabilities and control of land-based missiles and nuclear-armed bombers. The E-6B replaced Air Force EC-135C’s in the “Looking Glass” role, providing command and control of U.S. nuclear forces should ground-based control become inoperable.
General Characteristics of the E-6 Mercury
- Crew: 12–25
- Capacity: 23
- Length: 150 ft 4 ins (45.8 m)
- Wingspan: 148 ft 4 in (45.2 m)
- Height: 42 ft 5 in (12.9 m)
- Loaded weight: 342,000 lb (154,400 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 342,000 lb (154,400 kg)
- Power plant: 4× CFMI CFM-56-2A-2 high-bypass turbofans
E-6 Mecury Performance
- Maximum speed: .862 mach (600 mph, 520 kn; 970 km/h)
- Range: 6,600 nautical miles (7,590 statute miles, 12,144 km with 6 hours loiter time)
- Service ceiling: >40,000 ft (12,200 m)