“It’s a message to the small group of adversaries with [ICBMs].” – Tim Hogan, intelligence expert
Oct 2, 2020
Fox News – A pair of Boeing E-6B Mercury planes were detected flying along both coasts of the U.S. mainland early Friday by aviation enthusiasts — just around the time President Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with coronavirus.
The Pentagon and U.S. Strategic Command did not immediately respond to calls and an email from Fox News seeking confirmation but eagle-eyed trackers on social media reported that one Boeing E-6B Mercury was flying along the East Coast and another was spotted in the air above Oregon.
The E-6 is used by the government to convey instructions to the fleet of ballistic submarines the U.S. has in waters around the world. The vessels can deploy nuclear-tipped Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
The planes are part of Operation Looking Glass – known today as Airborne Command Post (ABNCP) – and are used to provide command and control of U.S. nuclear forces if any ground-based command centers are either destroyed or inoperable.
There was speculation the airborne command posts were deployed as a warning to any of America’s enemies after news broke of Trump’s positive test for the novel coronavirus.
The U.S. Navy, which operates a fleet of 16 E-6Bs, normally has at least one of the planes in the air at all times and it is not uncommon for two of the four-engine planes to be in flight.
While military planes generally turn off their transponders in order to avoid being tracked, the two E-6Bs in the air early Friday morning had left theirs on, with the assumption being that their crews want to be seen.
“It’s a message to the small group of adversaries with SLBMs and [intercontinental ballistic missiles],” Tim Hogan, a noted open-source intelligence practitioner, tweeted. Source.