EC-135  Looking Glass

        An essential element in the command and control of the Strategic Air Command's forces was the Airborne Command Post, also called "Looking Glass."   The nickname came from the mission - it was a mirror of the ground-based system.  At least one airborne command post was in the air at all times and its highly-trained crew and staff ensured there was a viable means to direct bombers and missiles from the air should ground-based command centers become inoperable.  It guaranteed that U.S. strategic forces would act only in the precise manner dictated by the President.   
     These aircraft began their duty with SAC on February 3, 1961. From then on, a Looking Glass aircraft was in the air at all times 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for more than 29 years. On July 24, 1990, Looking Glass ceased continuous airborne alert, but remained on ground or airborne alert 24 hours a day. Crews accumulated more than 281,000 accident-free flying hours.  The last EC-135 was retired from service on  October 1, 1998. 

See the display models of the RC135 at