...And Why They Flew It

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Why didn't the president fly in a fighter or some kind of burly attack aircraft? Probably because Air Force One is safer, and better-equipped, than any other airplane out there. "Air Force One has a wide array of countermeasure capabilities for foiling surface-to-air missiles, some of which have never been disclosed to the public," defense analyst Loren Thompson told The Washington Post. "It is the closest thing we have to an invulnerable aircraft in terms of dealing with surface-to-air threats." Air Force One also is heavily shielded to protect the onboard electronics from the electromagnetic pulse associated with a nuclear blast. And it is equipped for in-flight refueling, so it can stay aloft in an emergency indefinitely ... so long as air tankers can reach it. Other defensive systems and avionics are classified.