Russian state media on Monday announced that the country is currently working on a new “doomsday plane” to protect government officials in the case of widespread attack and radiation fallout, the Independent reports.
Moscow’s new plane, an adaptation of the Ilyushin-96-400M passenger jet, is set for construction in Voronezh, which is located on the country’s western border with Ukraine. A source told the Independent that the country expects two of these new aircraft to enter service “shortly,” as part of Moscow’s four Airborne Command Posts that are capable of keeping officials in the air in the event of a major catastrophe or destructive event on the ground.
"The Russian Aerospace Forces will receive two air command posts based on the Il-96-400M. One is in production," the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported, quoting a source.
The planes will include a reinforced fuselage, special communications lines, and will lack cabin windows to protect against radiation fallout. It will also come with a greatly increased range compared to the previous models, which have been in use since the end of the 1980’s.
Although Russia only just announced the project, the country was essentially forced to confirm its existence in December 2020 after a thief broke into one plane’s cockpit and stole equipment worth about 1 million rubles, or $13,500.
A source within the Russian military told Sputnik News that the new aircraft class is known as the Zveno-3C.
The source said, “As is necessary for planes of its class, project Zveno-3C planes will be able to refuel in the air with the help of tanker aircraft, and will feature advanced radio systems enabling them to deliver orders to strategic aviation, road-mobile and silo-based nuclear forces and nuclear submarines in a radius of up to 6,000 km, in the event that conventional communications systems are knocked out. It’s also assumed that like their predecessors, the planes will have onboard air defenses to enable them to hold their own against air and missile attack.”
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