Two Boeing E-6B Mercury — the military planes dubbed "doomsday planes" — were spotted off the east and the west coasts of the U.S. after President Donald Trump announced he and his wife Melania were tested positive for coronavirus. The development prompted social media users to claim "everyone's getting nuked," however, the Pentagon clarified that they were pre-planned flights and had no connection to the President's Covid-19 diagnosis.
The planes' movement was first tweeted by Tim Hogan, an American open-source intelligence practitioner. In the tweet, he speculated the likely reason behind the flights that were spotted over the east coast close to Washington D.C., and the west coast over Oregon, shortly after Trump made the coronavirus announcement.
"It's the plane that has the ability to order the killing of everyone on earth if someone attacks the US with nukes in a first strike. It can talk to our missile subs underwater even if DC is gone," Hogan's tweet read.
The military aircraft was called "doomsday planes" because they are mobile command posts for the U.S. nuclear-capable submarines. The president can liaise with American submarines, bombers, and missile silos in case a nuclear war breaks out.
Other observers chimed in to provide more information about the Boeing E-6B Mercury planes. A Twitter user who went by the handle @CudaCores said the "doomsday planes" were "huge public flex" meant to say "try anything and everyone's getting nuked."
However, the Pentagon shot down the claims and said the "doomsday planes" flights were pre-planned and the President's coronavirus diagnosis was coincidental.
"These are preplanned flights and the timing is coincidental," a U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) spokesperson told the Washington Times.
Apart from the Pentagon, the New York Times' visual investigator Christiaan Triebert noted that the "doomsday planes" have been flying "almost daily" for the past month. He also said that the publicly available flight data showed the planes flew at least 14 days last month.