Pentagon may turn Russian airline's 747s into Air Force One

Pentagon may turn Russian airline's 747s into Air Force One

The two jets that may become the next iconic Air Force One fleet have been sitting in the desert since earlier this year, after a deal between the jet's manufacturer Boeing and a Russian airline fell through.

So the US Air Force, looking to replace the two aging Boeing 747 jetliners that now both serve as Air Force One, is buying two almost-new 747s that were leftovers from a bankrupt Russian airline, Defense One reports.

Transaero was the second largest airline in Russian Federation and went bankrupt in 2015, selling much of its fleet to Russia's number one airline, Aeroflot, but leaving some aircraft unclaimed and up for grabs.

It is not known what the Air Force would pay for the 747-8s, but a new 747 typically goes for around $380 million, depending on options and the number of aircraft purchased. Boeing regularly sells a plane of the same kind for $390 million. Whatever the Air Force orders would likely not have required significant changes to a commercial 747-8 before being modified.

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. Boeing built two of the four planes the airline had requested, but the airline never had them delivered. The official purchase could be announced by the Pentagon as soon as this week. The area, in general, is a storage place for older planes and planes that may one day be flown again. Two years later, it declared bankruptcy.

The exorbitant costs for Air Force One are in part due to the unique features the aircraft need to be outfitted with, including electronic countermeasure defense systems to jam enemy radar, flares to confuse enemy missiles, an anti-nuclear exterior that can withstand a blast, and armored windows.




"We are still working with the Air Force on a deal for two 747s", said Caroline Hutcheson, a Boeing spokeswoman who declined to confirm whether talks were centered on the so-called white tails.

After his election, President Donald Trump tweeted that the price tags on Air Force One's replacements were "out of control". The Air Force has estimated it would spend $2.87 billion through 2021 for development of a new presidential aircraft.

In January, Boeing maintained it had made "substantial cost reductions" by means of "simplifying requirements for Air Force One, streamlining the process, streamlining certification by using commercial practices".

The new planes would go into service around 2024.

The person also told us that the move should reduce the cost of the program that will see the commercial jet converted for Presidential use rather than have two planes goal built from scratch.

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