The USA’s E-6 Fleet: Take Charge, And Move Out!
March 22/19: Data Link Update The Naval Air Systems Command contracted Northrop Grumman Systems with a $37.5 million modification in support of the E-6B Mercury aircraft. The deal includes procurement and delivery of seven MR-TCDL B-Kits, one Mission Avionics Systems Trainer B-Kit, and associated A- and B-Kit spares for the MR-TCDL upgrade. The Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link (MR-TCDL) provides real-time networking connectivity to warfighters and commanders by enabling extremely fast exchange of data via ground, airborne and satellite networks. The E-6B Mercury is a modified version of the E-6A Mercury, which is a command post and communications relay aircraft. The E-6B features battle staff positions and an airborne launch control system equipped with land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last month, an E-6B was damaged while being moved out of a Hangar at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Work for the contract modification will take place in Utah, California, Boston, and Massachusetts and will likely be completed in October 2021.
The USA’s E-6 Mercury (aka. TACAMO, as in TAke Charge And Move Out) “survivable airborne communication system” airplanes support their Navy’s SSBN ballistic missile submarine force and overall strategic forces. With the advent of the new “Tactical Trident” converted Ohio Class special operations subs, their unique capabilities become even more useful. The E-6B version also has a secondary role as a “Looking Glass” Airborne National Command Post, and in recent years they have seen use as communications relay stations over the front lines of combat.
Delivery of the first production E-6 aircraft took place in August 1989, with delivery of the 16th and final airplane coming in May 1992. This is DID’s FOCUS Article concerning the E-6 system, which includes details concerning the capabilities and associated contracts. The latest contracts involve important fleet upgrades, as the Navy tries to drag the jet’s systems into the 21st century.
E-6 Mercury: Messenger from On High
E-6B Upgrade Efforts
E-6 Mercury: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2013 – 2018
FY 2011 – 2012
FY 2009 – 2010
FY 2007 – 2008
FY 1990 – 2006
Other National Command Jets
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