Skip to comments.Here's Why An E-6B Doomsday Plane Was Flying Tight Circles Off The Jersey Shore Today
Posted on 12/13/2019 6:26:40 PM PST by ameribbean expat
Not only were they among the last Boeing 707 derivatives ever built, but they are also packed full of EMP hardened systems and highly skilled crews that would literally hold the world as we know it in their hands during a major crisis. Although advanced and highly secure satellite communications and line-of-sight data-links are critical parts of their capability set, a far more cumbersome system is used to talk to ballistic missile submarines hiding deep below the waves. The deployment of this fascinating capability was caught today by a plane tracker that was monitoring an E-6B operating off the coast of New Jersey.
The E-6B's primary VLF antenna is just over five miles long. It also has a shorter one that is deployed via a trapdoor arrangement in its tail. The VLF antennas are stabilized with a drogue on its trailing end. The idea is to get the antennas as close to vertical as possible for maximum transmission effectiveness. This is done by putting the aircraft into a very steep and tight banking turn at slow speed and above 20,000 feet, not far above the aircraft's stall speed. These turns are repeated, oftentimes for hours at a time, as messages are sent.
A submarine trails its own long VLF antenna to receive the transmission. If the submarine is too deep to receive the signal, the VLF antenna can be floated to a shallower depth via a buoy while the submarine remains underway at greater depth.
This maneuver is precisely what was spotted today by one eagle-eyed aircraft tracker and open-source intelligence enthusiast, @vcdgf555. An E-6B was operating off the northeastern coast of the U.S., hundreds of miles out to sea, and executing a VLF communications deployment maneuver.
When I read the title I was thinking EA6B Prowler.
The pic at the link confused me for a bit.
Fascinating! Thanks for posting.
Showing some of my age, I guess
Loose lips sink submarines.
Got 3k hours doing that mission. Great platform, had a tshirt with a mushroom cloud in the background with ..Now its Miller Time!
I helped build the E-6 Navy version!
Message: POTUS impeached by committee.
Ha! I’ve never wondered hoe the VLF signals were sent.
Quite a production.
I am American, and there is nothing about me, which is threatening.
I’ve never even been in the military.
But I am in Thank Pho Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), and I had never heard about that. And there are certainly people out here, with rather more anti-American motivations than me.
So that is a very good point.
Are you telling me the VLF transmissions aren’t circularly polarized?
Didn’t the obungholers in the defense department convert the plane’s mission to great-white tracking? /s
Nah, they decided to track all the whites, not just the great ones. :O
Were goin downtown, Jake,
Gee, when I flew with VQ-3 we were not “known” as the doomsday plane.
But we were.
Then we were just known as the Iron Men.
You flew with VQ-3?
“Are you telling me the VLF transmissions arent circularly polarized?”
Vertical if TACAMO.
For shore stations like Jim Creek in Washington, they appeared to me to be horizontally polarized with and entire mountain of 4in copper cable as the ground field.
Hell, the primary amp tube was 30ft tall copper dome.
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