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Air Force ‘doomsday’ planes moved to Lincoln airport during Offutt runway replacement

LINCOLN, Neb. — The U.S. military’s four “doomsday” planes have been moved to their new temporary home in Lincoln from Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha as the base undergoes a $144 million runway replacement.

The E-4B Nighwatch aircraft serve as aerial command centers for top military officials in case of a catastrophic national emergency, such as a nuclear attack.

Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Ligon, deputy commander of the 595th Command and Control Group, said the move to Lincoln’s airport was the logical choice, as it has a nearly 13,000-foot runway that can handle the big planes. And it’s only about an hour’s drive from the base.

Lincoln has served as a temporary home for the planes before. In 2006, the planes were moved to Lincoln during another runway project, and the E-4B planes went back to Lincoln for a short time in the spring of 2019 following widespread flooding that left part of Offutt under water.

Offutt’s runway replacement project is expected to take about 18 months.

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