The U.S. Air Force (USAF) announced on Aug. 4 that it had ordered two Boeing 747-8 aircraft for future modifications into Air Force One to replace the two aging VC-25A Boeing 747-200B presidential support aircraft.
The press release says the program expects to begin aircraft modifications in 2019 and reach initial operational capability in 2024 when the aircraft will start providing worldwide presidential airlift support, after series of tests. Boeing in fact will modify their Federal Aviation Administration-certified commercial 747-8 aircraft to meet presidential operational requirements to help ensure an affordable program.
In March 2017, following a series of requirements reviews, the White House reaffirmed the minimum set of requirements necessary to meet presidential mission needs. The 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.
“Purchasing these aircraft is a huge step toward replacing the aging VC-25As,” said Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Presidential Airlift Recapitalization program executive officer. “This award keeps us on track to modify and test the aircraft to become presidential mission-ready by 2024.”
The service added that the negotiated price paid is not releasable as the aircraft were purchased through commercial contracting procedures.
As we have already explained the mission of Air Force One is to provide air transport for the President of the United States (POTUS).
Accommodations for the president include an executive suite consisting of a stateroom (with dressing room, lavatory and shower) and the president’s office. A conference/dining room is also available for the president, his family and staff. Other separate accommodations are provided for guests, senior staff, Secret Service and security personnel and the news media.
Two galleys provide up to 100 meals at one sitting. Six passenger lavatories, including disabled access facilities, are provided as well as a rest area and mini-galley for the aircrew. The VC-25 also has a compartment outfitted with medical equipment and supplies for minor medical emergencies.
Top image: Boeing_747-8F_render_in_flight.jpg: *Boeing_747-8_N747EX_First_Flight_2-8-2010.jpg: moonmPilved.lennukiaknast.jpg: Ave Maria Mõistlikderivative work: Altair78 (talk)derivative work: Altair78 (Boeing_747-8F_render_in_flight.jpg) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; bottom image: SSGT Alex Lloyd / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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