(Ullstein Bild/Getty Images)
The pair Boeing 747s used as the primary Air Force One planes are getting up there in the years and are due for an upgrade. These jets are nearly 30 years old and the US Government wants to obtain newer planes models to fit the role. In a twist of fate, it seems that the US Air Force has obtained the new planes, a pair of Boeing 747s built for a Russian Airline company.
Earlier this year President Trump criticized a deal to obtain for a new pair of Boeing 747s due to its $4 billion price tag. Normally a Boeing 747 will cost around $400 million per unit but these versions will have to be modified for defense and onboard roles. The main function of Air Force One is to serve as flying White House but it must also have the ability to withstand possible attacks and electro magnetic pulses.
“Modifications to the aircraft will include incorporating a mission communications system, electrical power upgrades, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities.”
Now it seems that the Air Force is able to save a bit of money on production because they have purchased a pair of 747s from a now defunct Russian airliner. The company Transaero ordered two 747-8s but was unable to make payments on the plane as it fell into bankruptcy in October 2015.
“The Air Force awarded a contract modification to Boeing on Aug. 4, 2017, to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft for future modification to replace the two aging VC-25A Presidential support aircraft.”
– Ann Stefanek (Air Force Spokeswoman)
The planes have been tested for safety, never left the United States after being built and have remained in storage. No announcement has been made on the cost to purchase the planes nor about the contracts to modify them for use for future Presidents.