March 23, 2018

Bankrupted Russian Firm's Jets May Become Air Force One

03 August 2017, 01:10 | Lionel James

Thanks to a Bankrupt Russian Airline, Trump May Get the Air Force One Deal He Wanted

Air Force One

The jets will be purchased by the Air Force to replace the two current aging Air Force One planes.

The Pentagon's 2018 budget request, sent to Congress in February, shows that the Air Force plans to spend almost $3.2 billion between 2018 and 2022 on two new Air Force One jets. According to Defense One, the Air Force is expected to announce the purchase of these two 747-B aircraft as soon as this week.

Instead they are considering reconfiguring a pair of jumbo Boeing 747-8 planes originally built for a defunct Russian airline that went bankrupt in 2015, according to a USA official and another source close to the discussions.

Although the US Air Force (USAF) has made a decision to go ahead with its plans of buying two new aircraft to replace the current presidential transport, it still found a way to cut the cost of the $386.8 million price tag for each of the two 747s.

The two likely-future-presidential-transport-aircraft are numbered N894BA and N895BA, according to Defense One. The airline placed their order in 2013 and Boeing built two of the aircraft in 2015.

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An Air Force spokeswoman told the site that the agency is in its "final stages" of purchasing "two commercial 747-8 aircraft".

Before taking office in January, President Donald Trump criticized the cost of the service's Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, which apparently led to the talks.

Boeing issued a similar statement, adding that it is working to get "the best deal for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer". While the country's national airline, Aeroflot, absorbed many of Transaero's employees and aircraft, it declined to take on its fleet of costly jumbo jets.

In February, the two abandoned aircraft flew from the Boeing facility in Everett, Washington to an aircraft storage lot in Victorville, California. Work to outfit the 747s with secure communications, defensive capabilities, and reinforced electronics to resist an electromagnetic pulse will follow as the Air Force takes bids from contractors to complete the modifications. Although the planes themselves are not what gives Air Force One such a hefty price tag. This included the four 747-8Is the defunct carrier had on order with Boeing. Bearing the famous designation 'Air Force One', the planes have become well known due to their distinctive white-and-blue livery.

The Air Force now operates two modified Boeing 747-200Bs, designated as VC-25As, when carrying the President.

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