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Planes built for bankrupt Russian airlines could be new Air Force Ones

03 August, 2017, 01:10 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • Thanks to a Bankrupt Russian Airline, Trump May Get the Air Force One Deal He Wanted

The Defense Department then began a study to find ways to lower the cost of new presidential transport planes.

Defense One reported that the Air Force will get a pair of Boeing 747-8s secondhand.

The planes were ordered initially from Boeing in 2013 by a Russian airline Transaero, but the company went bankrupt two years later. Acquiring the two undelivered 747s would allow this timetable to be accelerated, said the person familiar with the discussions. Boeing built two of the four planes the airline had requested, but the airline never had them delivered. As Defence One points out, this facility includes an aircraft boneyard that holds retired commercial aircraft.

President Trump steps off Air Force One on July 28 at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews.

The USAF is reportedly finalising the contracts with Boeing and the Pentagon could publicly announce the deal later this week, DefenceOne reported. Whatever the Air Force orders would likely not have required significant changes to a commercial 747-8 before being modified.

"We're still working closely with the Air Force toward a deal, with our focus being to provide the best value and price to the Air Force", Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson told GeekWire in an email. After the Air Force takes ownership of the planes, contractors will give them a state-of-the-art communications system, defensive countermeasures, and hardening to withstand an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear explosion. The structure of the aircraft will also need to undergo significant modification as the standard fuselage interior needs to be ripped out and replaced with offices, conference rooms, and living quarters for the President and the First Family, as well as staffers, press and guests. "The area, in general, is a storage place for older planes and planes that may one day be flown again", the report in The Independent said.

Sirimanne said he thinks it's unlikely the Air Force would have paid more than $200 million for each plane.

Prior to his inauguration, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to rage about how the cost of the Air Force One was too expensive. Trump tweeted that the program's $4 billion expenditures were "out of control", singling out Boeing for cost overruns and saying the order should be canceled. Twin-engine aircraft, such as the 777 and 787, are more efficient and cost-effective for worldwide airlines.

The deal was confirmed by a spokesperson from the Air Force to Defense One, which broke the story.



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