New Air Force One To Be White Tailed 747s

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In an effort to cut some cost off the next presidential transport, the Air Force is reportedly in talks with Boeing to buy two 747s that had been produced for the now-bankrupt Russian airline, Transaero. The two jumbo jets were ordered by the airline in 2013, but Transaero went bankrupt in 2015, before it could pay for and take delivery of the airplanes, which are now sitting in the Mojave Desert awaiting a bargain shopper. Each 747 has a nominal new sale price of around $390 million, on which the Air Force is presumably getting some discount. The Air Force has estimated the total cost for two completed presidential transports at $3.2 billion.

While Boeing is likely eager to sell these airplanes, it unclear how much cost savings can be reaped in the transaction. While many of the details of how a 747-8 is turned into Air Force One are classified, the estimated contract cost gives a rough sense of the work to be done ripping the aircraft apart and putting it back together. When Boeing hands over the heavy jets to the Air Force, they will need secure in-flight communications for dozens of staff, hardening against the electromagnetic blast of a nuclear detonation, in-flight refueling capability and a suite of surface-to-air missile detection and countermeasure systems—none of which come standard on 747s built for Russian airlines.

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