|Barack Obama leaving the current Air Force One, a VC-25. Photo: Wikipedia
[Avionics Today 01-30-2015] The U.S. Air Force has selected the Boeing 747-8 to serve as the next presidential aircraft, commonly known as Air Force One.
“The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said. “The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States [that], when fully missionized, meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission.” Ã¢â¬Â¨Ã¢â¬Â¨Analysis of the capability requirements conclude a four-engine, wide-body aircraft is required to meet the needs of the Air Force One mission. Market research determined there are two four-engine platforms that could meet the requirements; the 747-8 manufactured by Boeing in the state of Washington, and the A380 manufactured by Airbus in Toulouse, France.
This decision, while not a contract award, will work in conjunction with the notification of the Air Force’s intent to award a sole source contract to Boeing for the modification of the 747-8, to allow discussions with Boeing that will likely lead to a contract for the aircraft platform as well as the modifications necessary to missionize the aircraft.
Ã¢â¬Â¨Ã¢â¬Â¨“This decision is not a contract award to procure 747-8 aircraft,” said Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) program manager. “We still need to finalize the overall acquisition strategy and conduct risk-reduction activities with Boeing to inform the engineering and manufacturing development contract negotiations that will define the capabilities and cost.”