Trump Wants To Cancel Boeing’s Air Force One

by Lara Seligman
Dec 06, 2016

As Boeing struggles to maintain production of its iconic 747-8 widebody, President-Elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge the U.S. Air Force to cancel Boeing’s new Air Force One.

Boeing is in the midst of design and development of at least two new aircraft to replace the current VC-25A aircraft that currently ferry the President around the world. But the incoming President suggested Dec. 6 that he may move to cancel the program altogether, tweeting that costs are “out of control.”

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Trump tweeted.

Boeing leadership reached out to Trump following the tweet, and had a "constructive" conversation about the future of the Presidential Aircraft Replacement (PAR) program, a Boeing source familiar with the discussion tells Aviation Week. But at least publicly, Trump's opinion appears to remain unchanged, and the transition team did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

It is unclear where the $4 billion figure came from, but it may not be far off. The Government Accountability Office estimates the total program cost will be $3.2 billion, including $282.2 million to procure the two aircraft. The rest is research and development (R&D): the Air Force projects it will spend $2.87 billion in R&D funding through fiscal 2021 on PAR. 

However, Boeing has not yet secured any production contracts. The Air Force in September issued a sole-source request for proposals to Boeing, authorizing the company to submit preliminary designs for the new aircraft for fielding in 2024. The company is currently on contract for $170 million for risk reduction and other preliminary work, according to a Boeing statement. 

"We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of this complex military aircraft that serves the unique requirements of the President of the United States," according to the statement. "We look forward to working with the US Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best plane for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer." 

But speaking to reporters at Trump tower after the tweet, Trump said he thinks “it’s ridiculous” that Boeing’s new Air Force One is so expensive.

“I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money but not that much,” Trump said.

Canceling Air Force One could be bad news for Boeing. In a June regulatory filing, the company floated the possibility of terminating its 747 line if market conditions don’t improve. Boeing reduced output of the iconic jet from one to 0.5 aircraft per month in September. 

Although U.S. presidents have relied on Air Force One for executive travel for decades, Trump may think he doesn't need a government plane to get around. His private Boeing 757-200 is reportedly the 8th most expensive plane in the world, at about $100 million.

However, the VC-25 is no ordinary commercial aircraft. Both are outfitted with electronic countermeasures—including devices that can jam enemy radar—and are able to eject flares to throw heat-seeking missiles off course. Air Force One is also known for having massive amounts of technology onboard, with 85 onboard telephones, a collection of two-way radios, fax machines, computer connections and 19 televisions.

In addition, each aircraft  carries 53,611 gal. of fuel and has a gross takeoff weight of 833,000 lb. to enable the aircraft to fly halfway around the world in an emergency situation. Air Force One  also can be refueled in flight, which gives the president the ability to stay in the air indefinitely, if necessary.

The VC-25 also has a compartment outfitted with medical equipment and supplies for minor medical emergencies. 

Additional reporting by Mike Bruno

 

Discuss this Blog Entry 116

JP7
on Dec 6, 2016

That's not all that will be cancelled if gold plating and ceiling mirrors aren't standard.

on Dec 8, 2016

lol!

on Dec 6, 2016

The new AF1 is a waste of money. Ridiculous bloat and cost.
Always love Obama flying around in it (plus the C17 carrying the helo and limos) to Global Warming conferences.

on Dec 7, 2016

Not to mention the other AF-1 that always goes along as backup, plus all the security aircraft, the fighter escort, and the several OTHER C-17s carrying all the support equipment such as armored convoy vehicles and weapons. AND, let's not forget the separate squadron flying moochelle and her mom and the kids, plus their friends, to separate shopping trips while oblamer golfs and fund raises, but is sure to do a ten-minute "official" function during the trip so we pay all the bills....'And, of course, let's not forget all the per diem costs and "overtime" for the hundreds of schlubs who go along to provide all the advance and "mission" services for the royal party, etc., etc....

on Dec 7, 2016

e holder: You know how I know you are a racist? Coupled with the fact you have no idea what you are talking about w/ re: to AF1 operations?

on Dec 7, 2016

Having been an airport employee, and having participated in a protective operations briefing & been on duty when the Secret Service advance team showed up with the limo, etc., the description sounds about right. Pretty pricey to keep the CIC safe. I'm sure there are many aspects you haven't imagined.

on Dec 8, 2016

Anyone that disagrees with the Current Whitehouse is always branded a Racist! All of this nonsense and Race baiting will thankfully cease soon! New Sherriff is coming to town!

on Dec 7, 2016

What an idiotic thing to say.

on Dec 8, 2016

The guy is on his way out, yet your hatred radiates heat like a foundry.... This is not for him, it is for future presidents. You are so blinded by your hatred for someone who for all practical purposes is gone, shows your appalling hatred and stupidity.

on Dec 6, 2016

No need of AF1 as long as POTUS elect TRUMP has Trump-one!!!!

on Dec 6, 2016

What's the source of the small font info? It seems that someone just threw in some random extra info into the article.

And..."His private Boeing 757-200 is reportedly the 8th most expensive plane in the world, at about $100 million." is factually incorrect.

Relying on a simple search and finding a single article (see below) that lists Trumps, rather old but upgraded 757-2, as #3 out of eight doesn't make it correct.

Reference - financesonline.com/8-most-expensive-planes-in-the-world-how-much-does-it-cost-to-fly-like-the-elite/

Try looking the costs of just the list of commercial aircraft (and their variants) that Boeing and Airbus makes.

Reference - aircraftcompare.com/manufacture-aircraft/Boeing/1

I count at least 12 Boeing models/variants that cost more than $100M, and 19 Airbus commercial aircraft. From another source add the 737-8(US$110.0 million), 737MAX-200 (US$112.9 million) and 737-9 (US$116.6 million) to the Boeing list.

Plus there's several military aircraft that are more expensive than $100 M each.

Trump's 757 is an upgraded VIP aircraft and I expect that there's a other VIP aircraft around that cost more than his.

Maybe AWST authors should focus on why the new Air Force 1 program went from $1.6 billion to over $4 billion?

With Boeing stating that a single 747-8I costs US$379.1 million ($758.2 for the planned two aircraft) what constitutes the extra $841.8 M from the original bid (likely understandable special equipment/design enhancements)? And why the now extra ~$1.4 B + cost above and beyond that now?

I expect AWST to report on that vs. trying to make a weak political stab in the dark.

on Dec 7, 2016

Nicely done! I totally agree. I was hoping for illumination, not a political cheap shot.

on Dec 7, 2016

Why would you expect facts when it's a Republican-criticizing article, or a dim-praising one?

on Dec 7, 2016

Well said. Unfortunately, it seems all journalists, no matter the area of expertise, are angling towards the tabloid/gossip type news that the majority of the masses want to see and hear.

on Dec 7, 2016

Most of the cost will be testing and evaluation. When Trump referred to $4B, it was program cost, not contract to Boeing. If a normal 747-8i is $379M, a "missionised" varaint will likely cost twice that at $700M (2 for $1.4B). .......and another $2.6B for OTE and qualification of components?? seems very reasonable. Mr T is clueless. Shut his twitter account already.

on Dec 8, 2016

Thank You...

on Dec 6, 2016

Why do we spend 10s of billions on AF1 (two of them) and the helicopter fleet?

President turns around in a Limo and does fine, I don't see a billion dollar limo

The whole Marine 1 and AF1 thing is way out of hand.

Trump is still an idiot.

on Dec 6, 2016

Limos don't fly, and you'd be surprised on how expensive those POTUS limos are.

Trump is bringing up extravagant govt costs, and that's not idiotic.

And POTUS Obama authorized the new Boeing 747-8 Air Force program, and added $10 trillion in 8 years to the national debt (doubling it) after claiming in 2008 the Bush admin $6 trillion addition to the nation debt was irresponsible. How idiotic has that been?

on Dec 6, 2016

Who cares about the national debt? The fed will print some more counterfeited money and voila done deal 10 AF1!!! That's xerox money that's all, but for decades who cares about it, apart of some lunatics who wants to annoy everyone like Ron and Rand Paul!! I am just sarcastic!!!

on Dec 6, 2016

AA,

You're not even a US citizen, as you've acknowledged. Maybe you should stick to your own countries' problems. Not sarcastic.

on Dec 6, 2016

But the issues here in Frog Land are pretty much the same apart that POTUS Obama had respected his function while POTFR has been a disgrace to his people, the nation and the constitution from start to finish.
The cesspool in my country give me the creeps!!
I did not went off-course from US constitution nor AWST guidelines!

on Dec 7, 2016

SO close!!

Excellent English, but it's "I did not go off course...," and it would be better to say something like, "I did not depart from US Constitution nor AWST guidelines!"

on Dec 7, 2016

Comment removed by staff.

on Dec 8, 2016

Critiquing Mr alexandre's grammar is a cheap shot. Perhaps critiquing his comment's contents would be a better approach.

on Dec 7, 2016

Talyn:

I for one (but not for AF1) Welcome views from all communities including other countries.

As what we do affects them, they not only have a right, its valuable input.

And the comments fully allow it.

You should re-consider your negative (at best) and xenophobic (at worst) attitude.

on Dec 6, 2016

I believe I said we don't need it?

So lets talk about the idiot.

1 Trillion infrastructure improvement plan (fine with me)
Cut taxes (huh?
How do we pay for it: Economic Growth of course (reallyu? )
Can you say ROAD TAX. Sure you can.

Massive Miltary Expansion: Uhh what enemy? ISIS? Really?

How do we pay for it: Economic Growth, (really?)

The idiotic can't even run a business, what is it 4, 5 6 Bankruptcies ?
915 million loss IN ONE YEAR!

Those 1100+ Union Jobs at Carrier. Nope sorry, we are keeping 750 we planned, the rest go away, and we take the 7 mil. What not to like.
Wonder where the money comes from?

But its win win biglyh, and those 400 guys are going to be millionaires in high paying jobs with great health care (oh they had good paying jobs and health care?)

So now we run the country on Tweets? Can you say idiot? Sure you can.

And the point ton the 747 is we hear that BS all the time.

We are flying 60 year old B-52s, KC135s. If you want to keep them flying you can and reasonably economically.

Tons of 747-200s out there for parts, some are still flying freighter versions. Kallitta can maintain them.

But if you think there is anything rational behind DT, you have another think coming.

Our first PE from a Fake TV show. What's not to like?

on Dec 7, 2016

Spectre, Trump has not been sworn in yet, and is not running the country, by tweets or any other method.
Can you say 'idiot'?

on Dec 7, 2016

Ah yes, the idiot who won the Presidency, my, my aren't we all superior, he will be the leader of the free world. No, I'm not a Trump supporter, I was a Bernie guy. I find great amusement in both people on the left and right who consider themselves superior to this guy or that he is an idiot or doesn't understand, or tweets randomly and without purpose. Whatever makes you sleep better at night. This nuts in charge.

on Dec 8, 2016

No real surprise here Buttercup! Typical Bernie Bot!

on Dec 8, 2016

My my how trite, call us what you will, you helped elect an idiot in chief either by voting for him or his opponent.

I was pointing out that regardless what your belief is this guy is in charge, this Bernie " bot" is loving it.

on Dec 7, 2016

Can you say got helps us when he is?

on Dec 7, 2016

Oh but wait until Donald solves the next world crisis in a 140 character tweet .
His whole position was in response to Boeing chairman Muilenburg's suggestion that the new presidential team, and Congress, cool the anti-trade rhetoric.
Trump has the emotional development of an eight year old boy.
From the Seattle Times:
The fact is that Trump has no alternative to Boeing as an Air Force One supplier, unless he plans to make Airbus great again, or Russia’s Antonov. They are the only other plane makers in the world that make jets big enough.
A significant number of Boeing machinists voted for Trump, despite his hard-line stance on restricting international trade, which could hit Boeing’s foreign sales.
Note to those machinists and others who thought that Trump was for the "working guy"
P.T. Barnum for the 21st century snagged you in his grift

on Dec 8, 2016

Think Antonov is in Ukraina not Russia. Many trips could safely be made in the back seat of an Apache AH-64 to his destination landing 20ft from where he will speak, instead of using the Aircraft amarmada presently used and rolling out "The Beast". Trump might be annoyed for paying for a bunch of VC-XX Air Force Ones that we never will fly in.

on Dec 7, 2016

I would love to hear Kallitta is "maintaining" trump's plane.

on Dec 7, 2016

If the folks in Oscoda were, it would be done on time and within budget and at a lower cost with work performed by Americans!

on Dec 7, 2016

$1.5 million
There is no car like the president's armored limo — aka 'The Beast' Designed from the ground up by the Secret Service, President Barack Obama's $1.5 million "Cadillac One," aka "The Beast," is a moving fortress impenetrable by bullets and bombs.

"In brief follow-up remarks, Trump told reporters in New York that “The LIMO is totally out of control. I think it’s ridiculous. I think GM is doing a little bit of a number.”

We'll put Donald in a Hundai Elantra

on Dec 7, 2016

I think a Gremlin would be more appropriate.

on Dec 7, 2016

Specrer49 your an idiot! Why don't you find a new country. Get the hell out of the way!

on Dec 7, 2016

Well lets start out with that this is a free country (pretty much)

I tell you what, lets get dueling legalized and then I would be happy to meet you on the field of honor.

I was taught to read at age 7 or so.

I have followed Trumps serial business failures.

If you think that or his lack of courtesy is a recipe for a successful President, then you are a very foolish person indeed.

On the other hand,

"I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. "

And that indeed is what is at heart a patriot vs a free loader.

I love my country, I think it is worth fighting for.

And neither you nor anyone else is going to make me leave or change my integrity.

so you too are included in the right to say anything you want.

on Dec 7, 2016

7? Well, that explains a lot. My nephew is three and is starting to read.

on Dec 8, 2016

Settle Down Frances.

Wow things are getting heated up. We finally have a President that says ENOUGH to these huge costs and everyone is running around saying IDIOT. Well if cutting government waste is idiot, we need a few more around.

on Dec 6, 2016

AF1 should go forward. The security is too important, along with maintenance cost of the old 747-200's - just getting parts for the older planes can become troublesome in the future.

Trump has a 757 sure. But it does not have the range, it does not have the onboard resources, it does not have the speed, it does not have the security and defense systems.

Cancelling AF1 is just plain dumb - along with the jobs it will cost.

on Dec 6, 2016

Please note we still have B-52 from the early 60s. KC135s, good to go.

Plenty of parts.

Not an issue. BS, spin, usual USAF LOL leadership (also stands for Lack of Leadership)

Lets see, how many people could we make really happy with a million dollar payout from the 5 billion or so they are going to spend?

Ok, so for every 100 million that's 100 people.

There are 10 x 100 in a billion so that's 1000 people

There 5 x times a billion in the program so that's 5000 people.

Sign me UP!

on Dec 6, 2016

And look up the costs to keep those in the air. It is crazy expensive.

Regardless, we are the greatest nation in the world - we should have the newest AF1.

Cut the budget from elsewhere - like retirements for life from congress, etc.

on Dec 7, 2016

There is a big economic difference to maintain 77 B-52 or 400 KC-135 vs. just two 747-200 with very special equipment.

It makes sense to buy new aircraft instead of pealing out all the old crap out of the VC-25A. On the other side it makes sense to buy old airliners like e.g. the German government did (Lufthansa A340-300). Such aircraft are not so often in use and the cycles left in the airframe is enough for 10 to 15 years of government operations. Australia has more KC-30 tanker on order. This time just kits to refurbish used Qantas A330. - Rare usage is the main reason why the B-52 and KC-135 are still up in the air.

Rare usage will make a future US President the last user of a 747-8i. Just like the US Air Force will be the last buyer of a 767 aircraft no passengers airline ordered for years. Also the USAF ordered a version no airline ever has ordered. So much about spare parts...

170 million just to make the basic design? Make it simple. $170 per hour for an engineer. That are one million hours of work. With 40 hours a week and two weeks of 2000 hours a year around 500 engineers for one year? Well, the 10 people preparing the power point presentation earn about 20 times as much as an engineer. The CEO about 250 times as much and therefore just 50 engineers will be paid. To earn some money Russian engineers will be used....

on Dec 7, 2016

Leave Trump in his 757
The first time a joker with a manpad take a shot at him he'll be all
Whaaat!!! How did that happen???
Or maybe his buddy Putin will hack his non secure communications .
I didn't want to believe he is that stupid, but he proves it every day.

on Dec 7, 2016

If it needs anything its an upgraded communications wise. .

Other than that its good for another 30 years.

B-52 will be flying into 2040, KC 135s at least that long.

So if DT wants to accomplish something, then yes kill the contact, but a tweet is not the way to do it, unfortunately he is incapable of rational behavior.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, talk softly but carry a big stick.

Not run your mouth off.

Best one so far is DT new title

Tweety Bird

on Dec 7, 2016

AF1 is a key component of the US nuclear chain of command. With the president in it and airborne, or someone else suitably senior, the nuclear chain of command is intact and the US nuclear deterrent remains potent and unignorable (at least, that's the generally understood public position as to how the US deterrent works). It's a key strategic asset, and it takes a lot of careful thought, specialised equipment and a myriad of other assets to be in place for it all to work, for it all to be resilient, for it all to be plausibly dangerous no matter what the other guy has just done. It's a long way away from being just a 747 with fancy paint job fitted with a green-cased radio.

Dispose of just one link in that chain of command (such as not renewing AF1), and no authenticatable order to retaliate can propagate through the system and you may as well throw away the entire strategic nuclear weapons inventory, a good portion of the US military, and America's strategic position in the geopolitical world.

This is partly why the US got so uppity about the USSR placing missiles in Cuba - it offered the prospect of a decapitation strike which would have neutralised the USA's ability to retaliate.

So, if it's such a key piece of strategic hardware, why doesn't anyone else who has nuclear weapons have anything quite like it? Simple: different arrangements for their chain of command. For example in the UK there is a chain of command eminating from upon high, but there's also a back up. The subs (for that's all that's left) are able to take independent action should the captain and senior officers deem it appropriate, guided by a letter written to him(her) by the prime minister of the day.

Yes that's right, the UK nuclear deterrent is ultimately safeguarded by the discipline of the Royal Navy, not technological systems. Very different levels of belief in the integrity of personnel compared to the US.

For the UK it's a massive force multiplier - an attacker can do all they like (e.g reduce the entire UK to a smoldering heap), but they absolutely have to take out the submarine to prevent the UK's retaliatory strike. And even just one fully tooled up Vanguard sub can do serious damage to a very large amount of one's own geography.

Not sure about the French, Chinese, Russians, Israelis, Pakistanis, or Indians. I wouldn't mind betting that the last two safeguard their weapons by ensuring they don't actually have any complete nuclear warheads lying around the place.

No doubt upon his enthroning in Washington next month someone will try and tell DT how it works, see if he still thinks canning AF1 or delaying it's renewal would be a good idea. It's another sign that he's not really thought through what it actually means to be a national leader. It's nothing like being the chairman of the board of directors of your own company, and I fear it will come as a nasty and unpleasant shock to his hitherto cosseted existance.

on Dec 7, 2016

Well said.

on Dec 7, 2016

I vote for updating what we have.

I also vote to give the command authority to the Boomer officers on patrol.

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