Next Air Force One Shouldn’t Be A 747, Report Proposes
The next Air Force One should be anything other than a Boeing 747; even Northrop Grumman’s next-generation stealth bomber would be a better choice, says a report by Wright Williams & Kelly (WWK). President Trump has tweeted that he finds the $3.2B projection for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program to replace the Air Force’s Boeing 747 based VC-25 to be “out of control.” The report by WWK, a cost-reduction consultancy based in Northern California, focused on the Boeing 737 and the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, winner of the Air Force Long-Range Strike Bomber development contract, as possible alternatives to the heavy Boeing jet.
Variants of Boeing 737 are already in service with the U.S. military as the Air Force C-40 Clipper executive transport and the Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft. “It’s the 737’s to lose if we were to go to a civilian aircraft,” Danny Lam, a spokesman for WWK, told Aviation Week, referring to the aircraft’s low cost to operate, the work recently done to militarize other variants of the 737 and that aircraft’s ability to operate out of smaller airfields around the world. The B-21 appears to be a tongue-in-cheek exercise in how to create a transport aircraft that could survive in contested airspace rather than a serious contender to replace the VC-25. Lam told Aviation Week the B-21 “has stealth built in, it’s nuclear-rated and heavily shielded right off the bat.” Referring to his suggestion to convert the compact, windowless and unpressurized bomb bays into a passenger area, “it’s going to be terribly cramped but man, it would be a survivable platform,” Lam said. Commenters noted that significantly higher speed and similar comfort could be achieved using the Air Force’s excess intercontinental ballistic missiles for the same purpose.