Boeing E-6 Mercury is an airborne command post and communications relay The E-6B conveys instructions from the National Command Authority to fleet ballistic missile submarines (see communication with submarines), a mission known as TACAMO (“Take Charge And Move Out”).
The EC-130H Compass Call is an airborne communications jamming platform which attempts to disrupt enemy command and control communications and limits adversary coordination essential for enemy force management. The Compass Call system employs offensive counterinformation and electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and Coalition tactical air, surface, and special operations forces.
Boeing NC-135 is a special version of the Boeing C-135 Stratolifter modified to operate on several different programs. NC-135 aircraft act as flying laboratories to support atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, should testing resume. The NC-135 has also been used study solar eclipses as well as cosmic rays entering the atmosphere and the effects of magnetic fields in the ionosphere.
It’s not very often I get to actually see the planes in the sky – but caught this C17 doing touch-n-go’s this morning.