Home Airline Profiles Korean Air Selling 747s to US Air Force

Korean Air Selling 747s to US Air Force

by Matt Falcus

Korean Air has announced its intentions to sell five of its Boeing 747-8 aircraft to the US Air Force for conversion into “Doomsday Planes”.

The airline currently flies nine of these aircraft in passenger service, as well as a single example in VIP configuration, alongside Airbus A380s.

However, from September 2025 five of these aircraft are being sold in a reported $674 million deal.

Whether Korean Air retains the other four aircraft in its fleet, or retires them completely, remains to be seen.

 

US Air Force Doomsday Planes

One of the current 1970s era 747 Doomsday Planes.

At present the US Air Force flies four ageing Boeing 747 E-4B Nightwatch aircraft.

These heavily modified Boeing 747-200Bs date from the 1970s and are in need of replacement.

The E-4 series are specially modified for the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program. It serves as a survivable mobile command post for the National Command Authority, namely the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and successors. The four E-4Bs are operated by the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron of the 595th Command and Control Group located at Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Nebraska. An E-4B when in action is denoted a “National Airborne Operations Center” and has been nicknamed the “Doomsday plane”.

The Korean Air aircraft have been purchased by Sierra Nevada Corporation, who have been tasked with developing an updated aircraft to replace the E-4B Nightwatch.

 

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