The US President’s aircraft Air Force One is getting all New Air Force One! Yes, you heard it right! The current modified Boeing 747s that fly the commander-in-chief known in the Air Force as VC-25As – are on their way out. It has served only five US Presidents for nearly three decades. It’s time for the new flying White House with new jet age and a next-generation aircraft.
As you might be aware, the new US President Joe Biden will be the first US President to use the new Air Force One! Before we get into more details, let’s look at the video on the specifications of new aircraft:
The specialties of the new Air Force One:
Bigger and Costlier:
The new VC-25B jet is larger and more efficient than its predecessor. But bigger, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean better as the new Air Force One will be actually lacking some key features compared to its predecessor, despite the sky-high price tag.
Despite an effort on the part of the Air Force and President Donald Trump‘s administration, the total program is slated to cost around USD 5.3 billion. That price includes the aircraft purchase – around $800 million if purchased new, which they weren’t – as well as the interior completion, special modifications, and a new hangar at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
The second hand aircraft!
As confirmed by the Boeing spokesperson to CNN, Boeing won’t be building the new Air Force Ones from scratch. Yes! You heard it right! The fact is, the Air Force will technically be buying the aircraft second hand. As part of the cost-saving efforts, Boeing sold the government two 747-8i aircraft that were built and intended to be delivered to a now-defunct Russian airline, Transaero.
Four alternative options to save cost!
The replacement program began under President Barack Obama but his successor would have the most say in the acquisition process. In 2016, a newly-elected president Donald Trump publicly complained about the high cost of the replacement program, which he stated was over $4 billion.
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion,” Donald Trump said in a 2016 tweet. “Cancel order!”
Then-Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg met with then-President-elect Trump at Mar-a-Largo in Palm Beach, Florida to discuss potential alternatives to lower the cost of the program with four options. A $4.2 billion alternative was to purchase two new 747-8i jets but only install the presidential configuration on one and a standard VIP interior on the other while a $3.88 billion option involved only buying one new 747-8i and keeping one of the existing 747s.
Less expensive alternatives also included buying two new 747-8i aircraft but eliminating some of the Air Force’s requirements or just installing VIP interiors instead of the presidential configuration demanded by the Air Force. All proposals were flatly rejected by the service branch.
A $84 Million Owner’s Manual:
According to the Air Force, Boeing will develop the owner’s manual for the new VC-25B aircraft and the service branch is paying $84 million for it! Wow!! The manual will reportedly contain over 100,000 pages and won’t even be ready at the time of the jet’s estimated delivery to the Air Force.
Scheduled to be in service in 2024:
The jets are scheduled to enter service in 2024 and Joe Biden will be the first commander-in-chief to fly aboard the new Air Force One! Donald Trump may never step foot on it, despite all his input and efforts to keep costs down on the project, unless invited by Biden or a future president.
With all excitements and expectations, one cannot wait to see this flying White House!