US May Soon Buy New Air Force One Planes

Air Force One

"We're still working toward a deal to provide two 747-8s to the Air Force - this deal is focused on providing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer", Boeing said in a statement to Business Insider.

Discussions around the planes were previously reported by Defence One, which covers defence and national-security news.

The two likely-future-presidential-transport-aircraft are numbered N894BA and N895BA, according to Defense One.

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Officials said the Air Force is getting a "good deal" on the planes, which are, on average, listed at $386.8 million each. The company was the largest Russian airline until two years later, when it went bankrupt. The order had been placed in 2013, with down payment, but the planes were never delivered for lack of follow-up payments. Trump claimed the program would cost "more than $4 billion".

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So Boeing flight-tested the two completed jets and put them in storage.

The aircraft are now in storage in the Mojave Desert. As Defence One points out, this facility includes an aircraft boneyard that holds retired commercial aircraft. Other planes, unmarked, sit with their engines shrinkwrapped in anticipation of one day returning to flight. It seems like that's a big savings compared to the $3.2 billion the Pentagon allocated for two brand-new Air Force One replacements. 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. New custom interiors will have conference rooms, offices and seating for White House staff, guests and journalists. Although the planes themselves are not what gives Air Force One such a hefty price tag. That's because Benedict Sirimanne, president of CSDS Aircraft, an organization that buys, sells, and leases aircraft, told Quartz he tried to buy them for that price and the Air Force outbid him.

The Air Force would not confirm that there is a plan to purchase the planes that were once intended for the now bankrupt Russian airline. However, sales of Boeing's 747 have plummeted after carriers around the world shifted to more-efficient twin-engine models such as the 777, the 787 or Airbus A350 airplanes.

The two aircraft that now serve as the primary presidential transports are highly modified 747-200Bs that have been in service since 1990.

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