Boeing has been awarded a $3.9 billion U.S. Air Force contract to deliver two Presidential mission-ready aircraft, Air Force One, based on its 747-8 wide-body jet airliner.
The firm-fixed-price undefinitized contract modification is for engineering and manufacturing development, to include detailed design, modification, testing, certification, and fielding of two mission-ready 747-8 aircraft. Work will be performed in San Antonio and is expected to be completed by December 2024.
The U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
The White House said in a statement that the contract sets the total price for the two completed “Air Force One” replacement aircraft at $3.9 billion, saving the taxpayers over $1.4 billion from the initially proposed $5.3 billion cost-plus contract.
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign for a U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States (POTUS). In common parlance, the term describes those Air Force aircraft designed, built, and used to transport the president.
President Eisenhower was the first president to fly on Air Force One in 1959, and that plane was a Lockheed Constellation. Since 1990, the presidential Air Force One fleet has been two Boeing VC-25As (with tail numbers 28000 and 29000), which are specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft.
Formal replacement efforts of the Air Force One began in 2011 under the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program and the new aircraft will replace the current Air Force One planes that are now 31 years old.
The new Air Force Ones, to be designated VC-25B, will be equipped with a host of sensors, electronic warfare equipment and other defensive measures that turn the jets into uber-protected, flying White House. Boeing is expected to begin work on the planes in 2021.
President Trump has earlier said that the new aircraft will have a brand new red, white and blue colour scheme. This is different from the iconic white and light blue chosen by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1960s.
“Air Force One is going to be incredible,” said Trump. “It’s going to be top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”