Boeing Sues Air Force One Supplier Over Delays and Cancels Contract

By Kurt Stolz on 11 April 2021
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Transaero Boeing 747s at Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport

Boeing has filed suit against a subcontractor that it engaged to work on the new Air Force One planes it is building for the U.S. government.

The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer, which in 2018 was given a $3.9 billion contract to convert two existing 747-8 Intercontinental jets into presidential aircraft, said that it had cancelled contracts with Texas-based GDC Technics “due to their insolvency and failure to meet contractual obligations.”

The two 747s were originally intended for Transaero Airlines, Russia’s second largest airline until it went bankrupt in 2015.

In the suit, filed in Texas state court, the company said that the delays “have resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Boeing and threaten to jeopardize work that is of critical importance to the (U.S. Air Force) and the president of the United States.”

The two 747s are still slated to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force on schedule in 2024 and Boeing said that it will either find another subcontractor to replace GDC or perform the work in house.

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 call sign “Air Force One,” which applies to any fixed-wing aircraft with the president of the U.S. on board, 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.

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.

In 2019, then President Trump said he wanted to change the iconic blue-and-white livery of Air Force One to his signature red, white, and dark blue but many believe that President Biden will reverse that decision, as he has many others made in the four years of the Trump administration.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)


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