US President Joe Biden steps off of Air Force One as he arrives at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Florida. Image Credit: AFP

Sierra Nevada Corp. has won a $13 billion contract to develop a successor to the "Doomsday Plane," the E-4B command and control aircraft on which the president would fly in in event of national emergency such as a nuclear attack, the Pentagon announced Friday.

Closely held Sierra Nevada will proceed into development and production of what's now called the "Survivable Airborne Operations Center." Work is expected to be complete by July 2036, according to a Defense Department statement.

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Sierra Nevada became the sole contender after Boeing Co., which made the E-4B, was dropped from the program late last year, according to Reuters, which said the company and the Air Force weren't able to reach an agreement on data rights and contract terms. A person familiar with Boeing's version of events said the company ended the negotiations when it was clear the contract was to be a fixed-price agreement with cost limitations.

The current plane, also known as "Nightwatch," serves as the National Airborne Operations Center for the president, the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centers, the aircraft provides a highly survivable command, control and communications center to direct US forces, execute emergency war orders, and coordinate actions by civil authorities," according to an Air Force fact sheet on that militarized Boeing 747-200.

"Replacement of the E-4B fleet is necessary because of aging 1970s-era aircraft approaching end of service life," according to a US government summary.

Work on program will take place in Englewood, Colorado; Sparks, Nevada; Beavercreek, Ohio and Vandalia, Ohio, according to the Defense Department.