Home » Air » Get Ready for a New Air Force One

Get Ready for a New Air Force One

by John Reed on April 11, 2012

Yup, the Air Force is moving to buy a brand new pair of big jets for the president. Well, whomever is president at the end of the decade, anyway.

We mentioned (tweeted) this last September when Air Force Secretary Michael Donley mentioned that the service will look at buying a new presidential transport in the next decade. The Air Force has been looking to do this for a while now, but in light of numerous acquisition priorities and difficulties it faced with them (think the CSAR-X, KC-X and next-gen bomber. Oh, don’t forget the Marines’ cancelled VXX presidential helo program.) in the last decade, the effort never really got of the ground.

Apparently, the service outlines its intent to buy two new airliters to replace the iconic Boeing 747-based VC-25s that began carrying the president in 1990 and 1991. Remember, their Boeing 707 predecessors served from the early 1960s until the 1990 as the president’s airplane, so this timeframe for replacement makes sense. One of the biggest reasons for replacing the current VC-25s is their lack of power compared to newer versions of the 747 (c’mon, you know the next Air Force One is going to be made in the USA).

From Defense News:

Current and former military sources have said power demands are straining the two quad-engine jetliners due to the aircraft’s extensive communications equipment and other systems. Newer Boeing aircraft feature engines with thousands of pounds of more thrust than those on the current Air Force One aircraft.

The inclusion of a VC-25 replacement in the aviation plan comes at an interesting time, since recapitalization of Air Force One is typically directed by a president in a second term.

George W. Bush’s administration had tried to get the ball rolling on Air Force One and Marine One helicopter recapitalization before the end of his second term in the White House.

Barack Obama is up for re-election in November and, particularly during recent government bailouts of shaky corporations, has been highly critical of executive use of corporate jets.

Shortly after Obama took office in 2009, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates canceled the helicopter effort following a severe spike in costs attributed to the piling on of White House-mandated requirements.

The Marine One replacement effort has been restarted though a program called V-XX, but is not supposed to begin operating until 2023, according to the 30-year aviation plan.

Following Obama’s harsh corporate jets comments, the Air Force put the VC-25 recapitalization plan on hiatus, with internal plans of replacing the current aircraft later this decade, according to the current and former military sources.

Since then, the service has been conducting low-level research and development of Air Force One-type systems, without identifying a specific airframe, these sources said.

Boeing has expressed interest in pitching its new, larger 747–8 as an Air Force One replacement. In September 2011, EADS North America said a VC-25 replacement did not fit its U.S. business model.

Since Boeing will likely be the only bidder in the competition, the Air Force has considered requesting bids for the integration work of sophisticated communications equipment.

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{ 175 comments… read them below or add one }

ltfunk April 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

A real turning point. Unless we buy a A380 for the first time in history the Present will fly not in the biggest and best jet in the world but second class. Says a lot.

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boswell April 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

Biggest? Sure.
Best? Debatable.
Second class? Give me a break…

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Gerald Priest April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

The Boeing 747-400 and 747-8 have different wing elements and configurations. This would negate a "simple" engine change. MGP As to the A380; it may be the biggest but not the most sophisticated. The 747 has proved itself over and over as one of the most reliable planes in the world. :)

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Dfens April 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

The A380 is a worse piece of junk than most Airbus aircraft, and that's saying something because those are all crap. No matter how bad American aviation gets, we always find the Europeans were there first. The only question left on the A380 is how much money Airbus will lose, not if they'll lose money.

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pleuris April 11, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Bla,bla,bla…..and oh yeah; bla!

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jumper April 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

Good counter argument… you sound like you could be almost smart enough to be an Airbus engineer.

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Thomas L. Nielsen April 13, 2012 at 3:43 am

The counter-argument is at least as good as the original argument (using the word "argument" in its loosest possible sense).

Present some actual verifiable data to support your opinion, or it remains just that: An opinion.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

JackBlack April 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

It is not about the ability to buy, but in reliability to fly.

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Joe Fox April 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

You must be joking. The A380 is NOT what it's cracked (oops did I say crack)up to be.

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bigr April 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

What are the Chinese flying these days?

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GuamVet April 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm

What makes you think the French built WhaleJet is the best? It was built to be a cattlecar airplane. The B-747-8I is what we need, built in the USA by Boeing and powered by engines built in the USA by GE.

We tried buying an EADS made helio for Marine-1, and come to find out, it was to underpowered to lift all the 'stuff' the WH and SS added to it. That also pushed the price per helio (23 were to be bought) to more than $500M each.

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r.sexton April 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm

What did this President wear this Air Force l out by all his trips

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JRL April 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

It's a shame that you suffer from the heartbreak of "teeny weeny" syndrome, but having your president fly around in the world's biggest jet won't really change that.

Can't you just get a big. loud Harley and a pitbull like so many of your fellow sufferers have?

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David M April 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Boeing is truely the BEST. Period end!!
David

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Snowmanmat May 7, 2013 at 1:01 pm

As an X-Flight Engineer, I wonder how much you really need. The E-4A/B are as antiquated as you can get. And for a good reason, EMG! If they get an EMG all that gee-wize B.S. communication isn't going to work. Now the real reason for a new AF-1 is vertical landing capability. A real necessity, demonstrated by Hollywood Obama. It would have been more convenient for the View, to land in the parking lot. And don’t forget landing on the golf course.

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John August 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

It's likely to be American made anyway. Same reason the President's limo is not a Mercedes, and the Secret Service doesn't escort the limo in Nissan's. The Oval Office and the Secret Service have always used American Made vehicles. That means Boeing, not Airbus. Better or not doesn't really matter, they are going to go with the best American Made jet airliner.

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Jay April 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

If thrust & power is the issue why not just replace the engines

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boswell April 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

Exactly what i was thinking. I'm sure there are other reasons they haven't/won't disclose.

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DGR April 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

Im guessing they want better C2 capability, and this is a easy way of saying we need new airplanes without getting to detailed about what we do/don't currently have/want.

But no need to get worried yet, im guessing 10 years at the minimum. The AF will probably have to bid, congress will cancel the bid, and they will have to go through the whole process again for show so they can pick the bid made by someone in someones district.

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tiger April 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

As much as Obama flys, it's never in the hanger that long. Anyway, I guess 25 years is about right for a replacement.

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Gerald Priest April 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

See my reply to Jay. MGP

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Joe April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Bingo! You said it in one. When everyone else has to cut back, why not our elected officials including our President.

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Nate April 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I was thinking that. Sounds a hell of a lot cheaper.

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AF_Guy April 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

you can only upgrade a 747-200 so much, and the new GE engines will not fit onto the current fuselage. There are also increased maintenance costs with the old frame as well as a needed upgrade to electronic systems that cannot be done on the current platform.

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Xb52hcc April 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Why are you putting the engines on the fuselage?

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Tankerphotoguy April 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I was about to ask the same question. They re-engined the KC-135s and got another twenty years or so out of them. I'm sure the AF1's airframes aren't worn out.

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Frank April 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Amen. Airframes have extended lifetimes…just look at the Buff at over 50 years and an intent to keep them in the air until 2045, so why not just upgrade the power plants?

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octopusmagnificens April 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

Buy the An-225!

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DGR April 11, 2012 at 11:21 am

Who are those clowns that submit the russian aircraft bids for everything? Someone needs to give them a call and make sure they join the party and offer a An-225 with camping cairs bolted into the cargo bay floor.

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M167a1 April 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Oh come on..
This is AWESOME!!!!
We could even get the ventral cargo pod…. Think of what Martha Stuart could do with the interior… LOL

While we are at it, wasn't there a transport version of the B-36…?

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Guest May 15, 2013 at 4:55 pm

those things are awesome! and huge! and russian :(

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Wild Bill April 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

More power….. ?? Just go to the Solyndra bankruptcy auction and get a plane load of solar panels and glue them onto the wings. I am sure that you could run one more teleprompter.

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UAVgeek April 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Dude the Solyndra deal was worth at most 500 million. How about you go find out how much the Army wasted in Future Combat Systems eh? And how much of the technology used in the CURRENT implementation comes from the same town that the Solyndra building sits in?

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Razvan April 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

Actually, according with the officials that gave the money, it's about 800 mils… pocket change by most standards.
Nevertheless corruption and waste, similar to the army bids you mention or the F-35 and LCS programs.

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fromage April 11, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I appreciate one going out of one's way to make a point that is at best, impertinent. I'm sure passingby would appreciate.

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anthony June 17, 2014 at 11:13 am

We aint talking one Airforce One but Two.And yes they are needed with comfort and all.Youre truck has everything on it doesnt it?..

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Musson April 11, 2012 at 10:58 am

It's only money; tax payer money at that.

And, when Liberal Democrats fly they leave no carbon footprint. Just ask Al Gore.

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Jolt April 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

The air force one is hardly related to the current president, y'know.

If you wanna make a hit at Democrats, you should first realize that the current president put most of these plans on hold and the Air Force is the one trying to figure out plans for a new one on their own.

The last president– a Republican– wasted plenty of money trying to get new helicopters and planes for himself and only resulted in dead money to contractors.

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m167a1 April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

I think both of you are making hay over routine maters, although I'll give a hat tip to Jolt that everything seems to be a deal of some sort these days.

Maybe we should stop arguing about which party is worse and see if we can find someone good.

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Musson April 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

But – Bush never told us our carbon footprint was making the oceans rise. He never flew AF1 up to NYC for date night. Laura never flew it to Spain because she needed a vacation on the tax payer dime.

If you really believe that manmade carbon emmissions are causing Global Warming – then Walk. And, if you Don't buy a Prius and park it next to your Suburban. Dont jet around to fund raisers. Don't steer government $$$ to your friends and supporters for their 'Green' projects.

If the President needs a new plane – you should be more interested in economy than ostentation.

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netinho April 12, 2012 at 9:06 am

Morons persist wherever and whenever they speak. Your volume speaks volumes, Musson. I believe that a well-positioned tourniquet would remedy this.

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Steve B. April 12, 2012 at 9:09 am

That presumes there's blood going to the brain currently, which is atypical in a wing nut.

Matt April 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

Does the author confuse engine power (thrust) with engine power (electrical)? I can't imagine cramming enough extra comms and VIP gear into a 747 to make it heavier than a similar freight model.

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Hotel55 April 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

How about converting a couple recently retired C-5s? I wonder if that would cost less with existing airframes….

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Matt Holzmann April 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

way too much time on the airframes. That's why they're retired.

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Dfens April 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Too much time on the airframe? That's why they are currently changing the C-5 engines from TF-39 to CF-6, right? A program that will last until 2017. Hell, most of the airplanes have 20 years or more of airframe life left. The A model was re-winged in the 1980s, so most of them have more wing life left than the B's have. Damn, those airplanes stink though. On the up side, if we used them as presidential transports, we wouldn't have to worry about the president taking off on a bunch of boondoggles because he wouldn't be able to stand the odor.

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matt April 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

President's don't do refurbs and the overall quality and workmanship standards are even higher than MIL. It is a flying White House.

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

There's always C-17's, since the line is about to close up.

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Davebo April 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

You don't necessarily want the largest aircraft. You ideally want your aircraft to be able to land at as many airfields (i.e. short runways) as possible. A380 is epic fail on this requirement. So having a good sized, but operationally flexible aircraft is the best solution. It doesn't do anybody any good if you have to fly in something else half the time because you're flying to a location where the nearest beast-compatible airfield is 500 miles away… I wonder if 777 might be better than a 747 on this account, although only having two engines probably hurts power generation, not to mention survivability.

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Joe April 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Precisely! The President recently flew into Burlington, Vermont and had to take the 757 model. Why? . . . The runway was not long enough.

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m167a1 April 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

I'm wondering why a full on 747 is needed. If they have to have a new air-frame then why not a 767 or 787? Although Davebo's comment on redundancy is a good one.

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tiger April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

You need room for all the staff, secret service, reporters, conference rooms, etc.

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Riceball April 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I think that power is the issue, in terms of both thrust and electricity generation. You have to remember that the VC-25 is carrying a very large electronics suite for both C2 and comms to talk to just about anything. Then there's the ECM and probably chaff/flare launchers and other countermeasures that's built into it, outlets for all of the electronic gizmos that the President might have and for everybody else on board. Last but certainly not least is all the mods done to make the plane more comfortable and more like a flying hotel than a standard airliner, all of that would definitely add extra weight to the plane.

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Evan September 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Not to mention that a two engine plane cannot fly direct trips over water as the 747 can!

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StrumPanzer April 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

What the Prez needs is a Boeing X-48 should have plenty of space and good power to weight ratio. Or how about a converted B-1 . Then it would be the first Air force one to go super sonic. Just kidding. It makes sense why they would want a newer plane even if it the same model your talking about 20 years or so of technological improvements plus the com equipment going into it would be all state of the art.

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bdd April 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

Nah, they need to convert an XB-70 for the next Air Force 1. :)

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DGR April 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Nothing gives the middle finger to the world quite like a Mach3 C2 plane that can drop its own nukes from 70k up! Im all for this! Where do I sign to make it happen?

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Gerald Priest April 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I have to know that you are kidding. The XB-70 sure looks pretty, but we all know what happened to the only other one when one of the vertical tails was hit…….not to mention the pilot that was killed in one of the chase planes.

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DGR April 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Ya I was just kidding. Such a cool aircraft though, a lot of ingenuity went into its design. Its a real shame they couldnt get it operational, stupid ICBMs have to ruin everyones fun……..

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Jeremy Cain April 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

StrumPanzer,
Thank you for your logical suggestion in the midst of our current misdirected presidential policy. I appreciate good common sense. Blitz on StrumPanzer!

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DB-1 April 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

What if the Air Force were to convert a couple B-1 bombers, wouldn't that solve a few problems from the get go, such as electrical power generation, engine thrust and not to mention a few enhancements such as it could take off/land at short airfields, its already hardend against EMP from nuclear detonation, it can already do air to air re-fueling, it is much more agile than any civilian airliner and it would look so cool…

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tiger April 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

You need room for staff, secret service, reporters, Sleeping quarters, communications, etc.

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DB-1 April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

they all can ride in another plane so if the new Air Force 1 was to crash, the entire Executive Branch of the government won't be devasted like what happened to Poland a few years ago.

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

That's why executive departments have deputies that will hopefully not be on the same aircraft. Or maybe we need to take a page out of the British and adopt the Shadow Cabinet system. Talking heads ready to go into any department after political regime change (or a die-off of rival government cabinet). But maybe in this context, the shadow cabinet would be appointed by the incumbent, and not the rival political party (though this would be nice, because it would make cabinet appointments very apparent and obvious, and not eligible for horsetrading for every campaign).

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tiger April 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm

The world shudders at the thought of Joe Bidden in power…..

JackBlack April 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Bomb bay?

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Balaso April 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Not enough room in a B1. The crew area is *very* small (the 4 that sit in it do not have much room). The weapons bay aren't large cargo areas, they are just big enough for the weapons system. You have no room to convert the space for an office or quarters of any kind. Every nook and cranny of the B1 is filled with the equipment it needs to fly and function. A larger airframe is needed. It may look big, but it is fairly slim, most of the space reserved for fuel.

One thing to consider is that the aircraft has to have enough room, not just for staff and equipment, but for provisions. If things go badly, Air Force One has to be able to stay airborne and allow for the President to run the country from the air. That means food, water, and medicines for the President and all the staff on board for a long stay in the air. In such a scenario, there would be no landing for a quick trip to McDonalds.

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MMCooper April 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm

787.

Put POTUS on the 787.

The 787 is a paradigm shift.

It's the most innovative airliner out there, has the longest range, can land everywhere, and has plenty enough room. If Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan could work and survive on a 707, our next presidents can do with a much larger 787.

The 787 makes the statement that the US is returning to the world stage, as a technological leader, as an environmentally conscious and concerned nation, and it dispels the bloated and over-entitled image of the United States conveyed by the 747 Jumbo Jet.

Finally, the 787 is the symbol of a complex and risky international collaborative effort, successfully managed led by a world-class US OEM.

The 787 is a great symbol of American prowess, the result of leadership and collaborative spirit ,and the White House gains by this association.

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Jeremy Cain April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Your statement is compelling. I just thought the B1 would send a chill down some of the bad guys spines.

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Liv April 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm

So how much is Boeing paying you?

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EJ257 April 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

They will probably select the 787 to replace the C-32s (757s based VIP AF jets).

Any idea if they will actually select a 747-8 or go with the 747-4 body with the engines and wings from the 747-8?

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moose April 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Most probably a 747-8.

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Nick April 11, 2012 at 2:20 pm

the 787 only has two engines. i don't know about anybody else but if i had to choose between a two engine plane and a four engine plane to carry our president, id choose the four engine plane with no questions asked. by default Air Force One is a massive target for any aggressors out there. when in flight there has to be the added security of at least two extra engines in case one or even two of them are taken out. Personally i don't care about our carbon footprint when the president travels, our influence on the climate and environment is minimal so why worry about it as a requirement and how it looks to the rest of the world…. they hate us anyway. Air Force One needs to be the jumbo jet with four engines that each produce more thrust, and for that matter electrical power, than the current engines do now. Keep that plane as close to invincible as possible and i promise it will make a bigger and more important statement to the world than just how environmentally conscious and concerned we are as a nation. we need another Reagan ASAP!

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Ben April 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Wouldn't all of these arguments in favor of the Dreamliner – range, size, room – apply even more in favor of the Boeing 777?

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Jeremy Cain April 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I third the nomination for a retrofit B-1 B. More bang for the TaxPayers Buck! (ie Made in the USA!)

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Matt Holzmann April 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

A-380's suck. Having flown them a number of times now, I find the flaws to outweigh the spaciousness. Those wing root issues are something else as well.

From a poorly designed head to poor ventilation, to weird wiring it's just another Scarebus.

The president travels with a large entourage, and having been aboard the old 707 version at the Reagan Library, there wasn't a lot of room on that plane.

The new 747's are pretty efficient and getting better all the time.

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m167a1 April 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I guess POTUS could ride in one of the bomb bays… just watch that red switch

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Praetorian April 11, 2012 at 5:20 pm

That gave me a flashback to Slim Pickens riding the nuclear bomb in Dr.
Stangelove.

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glen whitten April 11, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I could make an airplane with perhaps 5 times as much lift as our present planes.When I write to anyone in Washington they do not even acknowledge my letters. The White House writes that if they worked with me it would show partiality although of the 40 Billion (est) people in the history of the earth I am the only one that understands lift. My planes would be a LOT SAFER.Most University Engineers think they understand lift but ask them to explain how a 1.25 ounce bird can fly 6000 miles in 3 days or across the Gulf of Mexico without stopping. (Approximately 800 miles
Dr Glen Whitten pobox477 londonderry VT 05148

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

If you've invoked birds, are you going to go with an ornithopter?

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Mike April 12, 2012 at 8:58 am

Your last name must be obama, and your head is how big?

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LtDougman April 12, 2012 at 11:18 am

It seems to me that delusions of grandeur are symptoms of a schizophrenic mind. Did you take your meds this morning Doc? I bet the FBI has a large dossier on your silly butt.

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I'm sure the thermals are part of how the bird can fly for so long without stopping. Along with biking in crowds to exploit drafting.

If you ask the bird to fly outside the thermals or to fly against the wind, see what happens.

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Moe April 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

What?

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glen whitten April 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm

See my previous comment. My plane could also carry heavier loads or use smaller or less jets. And use less fuel

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barred April 11, 2012 at 2:29 pm

787 for domestic and 747-8 for over seas flights. A no brainer.

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Yep, and then the air force guys can fly around in them when POTUS isn't.

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Mastro March 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

No way THAT would happen- its a security nightmare.

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RunningBear April 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Wow,

C-5P(residential), upgrading 2 or 3 mothballed C-5As would be a good return on our taxpaying investment. Boeing would cringe on the C-5s but may offer a pair of 747-8s as new builds. The B-787 would be the classy approach, with the return to something similar to the ole' 707s (less eggs in one basket??).

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm

A C-5 Galaxy for the prez seems a bit much.

On the plus side, it means the C-5 could carry his support detail. At the moment, AF1 has to be followed everywhere by additional aircraft carrying his entourage, equipment and vehicles.

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tiger April 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

They already use C-5's for support. They carry all the limos & Secret service chase cars.

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I meant using a single aircraft to carry the prez, communications gear and the vehicles. It doesn't exactly open up the POTUS to more airfields, but…

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Riceball April 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

It would take quite a bit of refitting to turn a C-5 into a VC-5, in their regular configuration they only have a small area fitted out for carrying passengers in relative comfort. They'd have to totally remodel the cargo bay and make it habitable and once done I'm not sure if you'd have all that much of the cargo bay left to make it worth using a C-5.

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hm. How much cargo does the president carry around in the supporting transport?

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tiger April 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

A lot. The limos, The Suburbans for the Secret Service, baggage, parts, etc.

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Wingnut April 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

They could put a 'second floor' between the cargo floor and the flight deck for all the accouterments. Flight crew up front, press corps in the rear (75 seats), all the conference room space and Presidential quarters on the middle floor, and the limos and support vehicles (height restricted) in the lower cargo bay… I loaded plenty of them, and think there's room for a 'middle floor'… LOL… you will know when the President is on final approach, good old 'FRED' has a unique sound.

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Tribulationtime April 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Eureka!! We know now why they were testing the X-37. If we talk about luxury the King Fahd wins fairly. The interesting for me is if they are thinking in a Doomsday plane of only newer aircrafts. In the first case it would be funny to know what kind of tech marvels they want put in.

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Lance April 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm

While yes the President needs a safe C4 capable plane. the timing is bad. Most DoD programs are on there death bead the USAF need to replace the Falcon and upgraded Raptors and Eagles badly and now they have to speed Billions for a new VC-747. Just have to wait on that the Navy has to ditch the Hornet alot more since they are falling out of the air like rocks.

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Tribulationtime April 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Falling out of the air by aged or accidents? What variant C/D or E/F? Higher rate than new E/Fs going to supply, so it will exist a " fighter gap" ? It would be a very serious "power projection capability" back step.

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blight_ April 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Replace the four E-4's (edit: And the E-8 Mercury?) at the same time as both VC-25's. Both aircraft have similar missions, and would likely face the same issues if it comes down to issues relating to the next generation of communications gear.

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Rember April 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Make the new one VTOL!

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DB-1 April 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Thank you Mr.Cain I would also like to add that it would be much more faster than any civilian airliner also.

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FormerDirtDart April 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

The only realistic replacement aircraft are the 747-8i and 777-300. Comparatively, the 787 is a much smaller.

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Mastro April 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Well- the 787 is a lot bigger than the 707. Its basically the 767 replacement- which seems a decent size.

The POTUS probably doesn't need all those hanger-ons anyway-

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Mastro March 20, 2014 at 10:26 am

They don't NEED them- but they sure like to have them around.

I imagine the security detail is a lot bigger post 9/11 than it was November 21st 1963.

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P L April 11, 2012 at 5:23 pm

It'll be made in China like all our military software is anyway. Do we get one for Queen Pelosi too?

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Dick April 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Where do you get that "we" stuff?

Do ya think Her Mad-gesty will share it with you?

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Ed L April 19, 2012 at 9:24 am

It will have to be on the larger side. We would have to fly her huge ego around as well as a mega stock of botox to keep her face from sliding down into her crotch! Eeeewww! Just had a visual on that!!

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Atticus Finch February 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm

ya we do

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Nick Dwyer April 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I recomendthe hardy C-130!

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LtDougman April 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

That is my thought too. Equip it with JETO tubes for short take offs and landings and there ya go. LOL

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Too small?

I think the problem is requiring the press to be on the same aircraft as POTUS. No chance of laser-transmission videoconferencing from a nearby aircraft? Restricting AF1 to an aircraft that carries the president and communications gear with an E-4 might be an option. It's not like a modern aircraft can stay airborne indefinitely in a future war anyways. It need only carry a POTUS long enough to get to a secure locale, and equipment to communicate with an E-4.

Then again, if we were really preparing for WW3, we'd do away with the assumption of perpetual SATCOM and bring back tropospheric scatter and the microwave infrastructure; but that stuff's expensive in peacetime.

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Tom Lansburg April 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Oh please. We are in a financial and budget crisis globally. I am retired Air Force and I am aware of how well we keep our maintenance and operating equipment in top order. To me, if there is no problem with the airframe itself and since our technological advances continues to get better, we should look into upgrading the existing hardware and software after evaluating how much more life we could squeeze out of what we currently have which works and save the tax payers $ we don’t need to spend at this time.

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Guest April 11, 2012 at 11:02 pm

They should just stick pillars on a C-5, paint it white, astroturf the roof, and they'll never have to leave!

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jamesb April 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Ok Folks…
Here's the scoop……
The President of the United States will only fly in the Primary AF1 with 4 engines per the Secret Service….
If he has to fly short distances into smaller airports he will fly a B-757 or G-550….
We ALL know that the a/c the President flys in is AF1 to to the Controllers….
The ONLY new a/c therefore is gonna be the B-747-8…
NOTHING else will fit the bill….
Since the Election is 7 months away there is NO way an announcement is forthcoming…..
Forget the BS about A-380….
Ain't happening….
The worst part is the NEW AF 1 is gonna take 5 years or more to build…and I'll guarantee it WILL be over budget as the Secreat Service and WH Military Office add's EVERYTHING AND the Kitcehn sink….

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Allen Ward April 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

True on ALL COUNTS. I will even guess it will come in 50% over budget as the Pentagon and White House add more and more bells and whistles. Look at the now defunct Marine One.

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Ripberger April 12, 2012 at 3:35 am

EADS Airbus declined to participate in the AF1 competition in early 2009 as a business decision. Boeing's 787 is going to be the only contender.

I guess Lockheed Martin could resurrect the idea of a civilian C-5 Galaxy for the competition? :)

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 8:51 am

There's always the Globemaster. I thought the C-5 tooling was destroyed a long time ago?

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Ripberger April 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Apparently, the tooling was ordered destroyed after the last production model was delivered in 1989. Bummer. The remaining C-5's are being upgraded to C-5M "Super Galaxy" standard.

Lockheed did try to make a civilian version called the L-500, but there were no takers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-5_Galaxy#L-500

Would it be cheaper to turn a military strategic airlifter into a luxury VVIP aircraft or vice versa?

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

The Wright Brothers are an example of entrepreneurship in aerospace without meddling capitalists. Then there's SpaceX today…but you need money. Lots of it.

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FormerDirtDart April 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

He's a dentist from Vermont who states that "I am the only one that understands lift"

Pretty sure he can filed away under "QUACK"

My greatest concern is the people whose teeth he is working on.

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

It's the mercury.

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Ron April 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

If the President really needs all that space and an aircraft that can land and take off from nearly anywhere. Why not use a C-17. It is one of the best built aircraft around. I can haul vehicles, and comm gear to make any president proud. Plus they are not that loud

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tiger April 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Because Cargo jets are not cool. Air Force One is a show piece plane. A C-17 is not going to cut it.

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FtD April 12, 2012 at 10:15 am

how about doing a Virgin Galactic style where the POTUS flies the Spaceship One arriving anywhere in the world less than 2 hours and the rest fly Spaceship Two to follow. No missile on earth can catch Space One so no need to worry about potential danger.

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tiger April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I think that is a bit much to go visit campaign funrasiers in Omaha……

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Talk about the most expensive way to travel.

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DB-1 April 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm

May not get a go ahead, but I like your thinking;-)

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L Berry April 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

A real reason to expediate the purchase of a new VC37 fleet is probably the excessive use by Michael Obama and her kids for vacation use.
President Bush and family spent most weekends at Camp David, a short drive/helo ride from White House. Obama's don't like living in the sticks. They want Royal treatment and plush surroundings.
Obama has used Camp David only a few times since taking office. He doesn't thjink it's fancy enough for his Socialist/Islamic friends

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jamesb April 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

L Berry….
The Pres doesn' t DRIVE ANYWHERE…..
He RIDES in SUV's….
The First Lady travel's in G-550's…..
Check yourself

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blight_ April 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Pope has the popemobile with a slab of bulletproof glass on all angles. Your point?

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jamesb April 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm

L Berry…. is dropping on the President who is protected by the Secret Service and gets the security bubble that goes with the job…..
The guy often complains about the lack of a regular life…..
But that's the way it is….
Enough with the name calling….
He's the President…..
Live with it….

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Ed L April 19, 2012 at 9:29 am

Not for long thank God!!

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pedestrian April 13, 2012 at 2:21 am

There is only one option: Boeing 787

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anantoniusbauwens April 14, 2012 at 8:11 am

Since everything is double like decoys etc,will there be two planes built? As we often see how we transport our President I wonder if wed build two??

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

Yes. there will be two built.

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Marlin Hauer April 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

The best aircraft the president could have is an antiradar painted C-130 with 4 turbo prop engines that get alot more mpg than jets. Then include a couple of smaller jet engines for really moving out, if need be. Along with the optional Jato rockets, there would not be a place the Pres could not land or take off.!

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

A cargo bird is not going to cut it for the mission. It lacks the speed & endurance as well.

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Captreg April 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

All that plane and so few pasengers for it's size. Scratch scratch. What a waste of tax payers money. And we're asked to downsize?

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Larome April 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Enough with the serious and practical opinions. Lets dust off some of the hot rods from the past. XB70 comes to mind. Gotta be an opportunity to take her around the block every once and a while.

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well-duh April 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

mission would be better served if AF1 was NOT made in America.

Ideally its based on the most common modern foreign built airframe…thus making visual digital camouflage practical. Hide in the crowd of planes crossing the skies or landing at busy international airports.

Makes hiring and flying in decoys to trip up assassination teams easier.

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well-duh April 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I like the part were they misidentify AF1 and shoot down one of their own airliners.

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well-duh April 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Well maybe the days of free rides to gain personal political support for President should end. That is really taxpayers footing his advanced campaign. Reporters can easier afford the business expense to get to destination.

Also modern Internet, satellite video systems and compact lower power computers have greatly REDUCED the need for both SUPPORT staff onboard and equipment space and power needs.

Overseas additional security staff really would be served better by landing first in another plane – probably a modularized unit carried on military plane designed to land similar military HQ staff and guard.

Smaller plane

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fogg1 April 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

C5-tired airframe; B787 not enuff engines; A300 or anything by EADS-too scary-ctl info all in a foreign language; B1-no room; the new B747-8 (?) seems to be ideal. If they rebuilt the BUFF from the inside out this new 747 appears to be it. At least it won't be rebuilt during this admin and, after all, anything with an improvement period of 20 to 30 years, has to show a great deal of improvement. Incidentally, riding on any plane doesn't show what it would be like as a Presidential ride. Civilian a/c don't qualify as a VIP private ride.

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YeahISaidItSoWhat? April 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

What's the point in all the strong opinions?? Each is just that…an opinion. Outside of applying the democratic process and giving a voice to contest other opinions (and show the lack of spell check in many cases) , the words mean absolutely nothing in terms of calling the shots. Nobody here, including me, is going to be able to influence a thing about the President's jet. It's cool to speak on it, but some are acting as if they will be the one to decide what's what. Sorry to bust your bubble, but it ain't gonna happen as you dictate@

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Gordon Wells SMS Ret April 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm

The Idea of up grading the Engine for power and efficiency is the way to go. The E 4 should have the same upgrade. This could be done a lot faster and we all can enjoy the benefits.

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

When would you find the time? AF-1 is on call 365 days a year & 24/7.

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JaY April 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm

I recommend two items for he present Prez…..A Sopwith Camel for air travel and space underwear (for someone who thinks his ass is out of this world).

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msg ret April 19, 2012 at 12:19 am

Hell just retire the entire fleet and if the president thinks he needs to travel charter what he thinks he needs. The Chinese did it he is no better that any body else. And that hog of a wife fly commercial on her dime not ours actually the both should be flying on there dime all the time not ours. No exceptions. And the dog should fly on the same plane as meathead and familly.

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

This is about future users. Politics neutral.

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David M Pate April 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

Save $$$$$ Reduce the size of the entourage that is superflous to needs (vs wants) and go with an existing executive jet. We don't have to have the biggest, most expensive and luxurious when efficent and effective will more than serve the needs. Make the entourage, that consist of mostly newsmen, fly on their own dime, not ours!

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

Not doable. AF 1 is a status symbol to the world. More important it is a Airborne White House. The command control functions, The travel range needed, The security, ETC. Do not fit a G-5.

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Watler April 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

Next thing you will hear is the GOVERNMENT will cut off MEDICARE and MILITARY RETIREMENT BENEFITS to pay for the cost so OBAMA can spent all of his time in AIR FORCE 1.

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Jim vernon April 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Why not reduce the amount of electrical equipment. the President doesn't need to carry the whole damn White house with him!

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blight_ April 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

You missed the Cold War requirement that the president be able to coordinate a nuclear war from the aircraft if necessary.

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Scott April 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

If the next AF 1 were a C-5 (not likely) it could carry most of the support crap that goes along with every trip

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Steve Shultz April 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

I'd like to see the airframe hours and cycles for the current two AF1s and compare them with similar commercial 747s. I bet the current AF1s have lots of service life left, at most they could use a re-engine. This is the same idea that's been used on the KC-135s that are still flying at 50 years old (built 56-64).

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yonker April 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

For continental travel they shouldn't being flying such a monster. I'm sure a smaller liner could be hardened and have all the communication gear needed. Make the media pay their own way to the locations.

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SDP May 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Maybe we can start raising funds by selling the buses that we bought?

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bjbse September 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

It will be the 748. You need four engines for survivability and electrical power generation. The current VC-25 has generators on all the engines where as most commercial 742's only have two or three. Also you want to have serviceability, and the world wide network of parts for the 747 series will assure that. By the time the new aircraft enter service, the 748 network will be well established. You would not use a B-1 airframe, it is too small and has a limited parts network, as well as having high time on the frames. The last B-1B was produced in 1988 by Rockwell. The C-5 was last produced in 1989. The Galaxy is not practical for similar reasons, as well as the physical space required just to park the thing. I doubt many here have been next to one here, I you had you would know just how ludicrous that idea is.

It will be a 747-8i. It is the only plane that fits the role.

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BobTrent March 29, 2013 at 2:19 am

How much does it cost to keep the Air Force Ones sitting still at ready? All the info I see is cost of flying. The Air Force One fleet has to be ready for the president at all times. This is bound to be expensive. The additional cost of flying above the parked cost might not be as enormous as it is being made to appear.

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Brad November 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

How about a C-17 Air Force One? Or, for a really fancy ride, a B2 stealth Air Force One!

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FormerDirtDart April 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Exactly where did you fly on a 747-8? The first -8I was delivered on Feb 28, 2012. And, its going to spend around the next two years being outfitted as a VIP a/c Qatari Amiri.

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bleh April 13, 2012 at 7:25 am

> Um, that’s not true.

That only shows how little you know. Everyone knows that history ended with the Cold War.

So obviously Itfunk was talking about History 2.0 which began after the End of History (1.0).

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Ed L April 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

I am all for an F4 'Lawn Dart' and duct tape!! Maybe if you taped them to the wings it would cut down on the vacations!!

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Ed L April 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

Yea but in his case, he takes the dog along for a snack!!

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tiger April 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

This for the office of president. This is for the next 4-5 presidents. Skip the political bias.

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blight_ May 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm

We replace AF1 pretty much every three decades, and it's on schedule to go.

Marine 1 was canned because there was no guarantee the cost would go even higher.

The military will keep flying B-52, because next gen bomber keeps getting changed in concept.

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