Originally published on January 29, 2015.
The United States Air Force will replace its aging fleet of two modified Boeing 747-200 Air Force One Presidential planes with three new Boeing 747-8 jets, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Wednesday.
This animation introduces the basic design of aircraft and some of its advanced security features. As Reuters reports, “Boeing welcomed the Air Force’s decision to skip a competition and opt for the 747-8, citing its 50-year history of building presidential aircraft.
“The Air Force said it intended to award a sole source contract to Boeing, but they must still negotiate a contract and the modifications needed to adapt the jet for presidential use.
“The Air Force now operates two VC-25s, specially configured Boeing 747-200Bs. Details about the new contract, including cost, were not released.
“It said it planned to purchase enough of the technical baseline to permit competition for maintenance during the plane’s planned 30-year life.
“James said the Air Force One program would use proven technologies and commercially certified equipment to keep the program affordable.
“The Air Force decision was widely expected since the only other suitable four-engine jet is the A380 built by Airbus (AIR.PA) in Toulouse, France.
“The 747-8 is the only four-engine commercial jet Boeing makes, providing an extra margin of flight safety over the more standard twin-engine planes.
“But the Air Force order for a few 747s might not extend the life of the 747 program, which has failed to capture much business in recent years.
“Boeing was clearly trying to preserve production so it could fill the Air Force order, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia.
“Now that the firm order is there, he said, it might be an opportunity for the program to end.”