Air Force Awards Boeing $600M For Air Force One Design

Marco Green
September 14, 2017

Two Boeing 747-8 commercial jetliners once owned by defunct Russian airline Transaero will receive hundreds of millions of dollars worth of design upgrades before eventually becoming the United States president's personal ride, Air Force One.

The contract modification calls for Boeing to complete preliminary design work to incorporate a mission communication system, electrical power upgrades, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system and autonomous ground operations capabilities, the Air Force announced on September 13.

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"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion", Trump said via Twitter on December 6 during the lame duck period.

Then-President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAir Force awards 0M contract for initial Air Force One design USA ambassador to UK: You'll like Trump "when you get to know him" Dems: Flynn did not disclose Middle East trip MORE slammed the cost of the Air Force One replacement program, tweeting in December to "cancel order!"

The decision will send an eventual 12 new tankers to Seymour Johnson, allowing the 916th Air Refueling Wing to modernize its current fleet of KC-135R aircraft.

Because the planes were already built and sitting in storage, the Air Force said it was able to get a good deal. A Boeing spokeswoman said at the time that the aircraft were sold to the Air Force "at a substantial discount from the company's existing inventory".

The two aircraft were initially ordered four years ago by Transaero, a Russian airline that went bankrupt in 2015, Reuters reported last month. Boeing has flight-tested the jets and had reportedly paid to store the planes in new condition while looking for a buyer.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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