In February 2022, Northrop Grumman was awarded the Integrated Modification and Maintenance Contract (IMMC) for the Navy's E-6B Mercury platform, a commercial Boeing 707 aircraft variant. The modernisation is carried out by Northrop Grumman's Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Centre in Lake Charles. The company will build a consolidated production line for the $111 million contract's essential modifications. Northrop Grumman completed the first modification effort in about a year, clearing the way for future modifications to be completed in six months. To improve aircraft command, control, and communications functions, five kits were integrated into the E-6B platform. The E-6B operates across a broad frequency spectrum to broadcast and receives secure and non-secure voice and data information as part of the strategic communications mission of Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO).
The aircraft provides long-lasting airborne command, control, and communications supporting the President, Secretary of Defence, and United States Strategic Command. The second aircraft has already arrived in Lake Charles, and upgrades, integrations, and tests are underway.