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Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

Firm alters commercial planes for military

February 22, 2004

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Virtually every Boeing commercial model since the dawn of the jet age has found a use as a military plane. Among them:

  • The model 707 and variations have been used as the basis for AWACS radar and aircraft control planes; reconnaissance and battlefield radar aircraft; Navy communications aircraft; airborne tankers; and cargo jets. It also was used as Air Force One and to carry other important government and military officials.
  • The 727 has been used by the National Guard as a transport.
  • The 737 has been used as a transport, as an airborne classroom for navigators, and has been purchased by Australia for use as a radar plane. Boeing hopes to sell it to the U.S. Navy as a patrol plane.
  • The 747 has been used as the National Airborne Operations Center, the "doomsday" plane to be used if command centers on the ground are destroyed in a war. It also is the current Air Force One. The Air Force is developing the plane to carry an anti-missile airborne laser.
  • The 757 is used as an Air Force transport.
  • The 767 was used as the Airborne Surveillance Testbed, a highly sensitive heat-detection system to locate ballistic missile launches. Boeing also has sold versions to Japan as an AWACS plane, and hopes to complete a contract with the U.S. Air Force for 767 airborne tankers.

In addition, planes Boeing acquired when it bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997 are used by the military:

  • The DC-9 has been used as medical evacuation plane.
  • The DC-10 is used as a tanker and cargo jet by the Air Force.

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