After saying that the new Air Force One was very expensive, US President Donald Trump says he got a huge discount by announcing an agreement with Boeing on Tuesday. The manufacturer will provide two 747-8, the latest version of the passenger plane fitted to the presidency of the United States for $ 3.9 billion.
According to the White House, there was a substantial price cut of at least $ 1.4 billion while Boeing said via Twitter that Trump “made a good deal on behalf of the American people,” but an analyst heard by Reuters said that there was no room for discounts.
Compared to the 747-8 unit price of about $ 400 million, each Air Force One will add more than $ 1 billion. The major responsible for making the presidential plane expensive is in the systems and equipment needed to adapt it to be used by the president.
The requirements require the plane to fly even in the event of nuclear war, be capable of receiving defense systems, advanced communication, and an internal structure that allows its occupants to stay airborne for a long time – the current Air Force One can be replenished in flight.
Despite the announcement, it is an informal agreement that still needs to pass through the scrutiny of the US Congress.
The idea of having a presidential plane came almost by accident during World War II. Until then, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had traveled in lightly adapted civilian and military airplanes. It was in 1943 that the then USAAF decided to prepare a unit of the C-87 Liberator, civilian version of the B-24 bomber, so that Roosevelt could use it whenever necessary. Two years later, a new aircraft was chosen for the role, the C-54 Skymaster, military version of the Douglas DC-4, a four-engine with larger range and profile more suitable to carry passengers.
Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman, replaced the C-54 with the C-118, a DC-6 for military service. But it was at Dwight Eisenhower’s (1953-1961) administration that the presidential plane became “Air Force One” and because of an episode in which a flight from Eastern Airlines was in the same airspace of the presidential aircraft, both with code “8610”. To avoid a misunderstanding, the Air Force created the codename “Air Force One” to designate the official airplane of the president.
Reagan bought, Bush used
Eisenhower used the Constellation before being the first American president to fly on the VC-137, VIP version of the Boeing 707 in 1959. However it was John F. Kennedy who premiered the 707 presidential in its military version C-137 with greater reach, registered as SAM 26000 and SAM 27000.
The 707’s presidential career was extensive: one of the planes flew to the 1990s in the Clinton administration, while the second made its last flight with George W. Bush in 2001.
Ronald Reagan commissioned the 747 as a presidential aircraft. Under the acronym VC-25, the Boeing aircraft was selected in a competition launched in 1985 and first flew in 1987. Based on the 747-200, the two Air Force One aircraft, however, were only ready to be used by George Bush since 1990. Since then they have traveled the world taking Democrats such as Barack Obama to Republicans like Donald Trump. The question that remains is: Will the current president of the United States be in the White House in time to receive the new Air Force One?