Next Generation Air Force One May Be 747s Originally Intended for Transaero

By Paul Riegler on 3 August 2017
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A Transaero aircraft at Moscow Vnukovo

A Transaero 747-400 in Moscow

The next fleet of planes that will fly as Air Force One may be Boeing 747 jumbo jets originally intended for Transaero Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline until it went bankrupt in 2015.

The move follows a complaint by President Donald Trump that Boeing’s proposed cost for building two new planes to serve as the Air Force One fleet would be too costly.

The current fleet of Boeing 747s serving as Air Force One are Boeing 747-200s that began flying in 1990. Prior to that, Boeing 707s were used. The presidential call sign “Air Force One” was established during the Eisenhower administration to ensure that commercial flights did not have the same call sign as the flight the president was on. It went into use in 1959.

The two 747s in question are 747-8 jets that were built for Transaero but never delivered. They are currently parked in a boneyard in the Mojave Desert.

Once the Air Force takes ownership of the planes, there will be further customization that will include a high-tech communications system that would enable the president to communicate from anywhere in the world using secure channels, hardening to withstand an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear explosion, and defensive systems that include a missile launch warning receiver and countermeasure systems that can foil attacks by heat-seeking missiles.

The two aircraft would also receive custom interiors to befit an airborne White House including conference rooms, offices for White House staff, and seating for guests and journalists.

Ironically, U.S. airlines are planning to retire their fleets of Boeing 747-400s this year. Both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the only two operators of the type in the country, have announced that the 747-400s are too costly to operate compared to newer generation aircraft.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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