Today President-elect Trump, via a tweet, told the country that he thinks the price Boeing wants to build the new Air Force One presidential aircraft is too high and he wants it canceled.
This morning in the lobby of Trump tower President-elect Trump commented on the contract with Boeing saying, “Well, the plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for the Air Force One program, and I think that’s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”
The comments and tweet show that ‘businessman’ Donald Trump seems to already be looking at ways to save the government money. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said Trump will be looking at all aspects of Pentagon spending trying to find cost savings.
“I think this really speaks to the president-elect’s focus on keeping costs down across the board with regard to government spending,” he said. “I think people are really frustrated with some of the big price tags that are coming out for programs, even in addition to this one. So we’re going to look for areas where we can keep costs down and look for ways where we can save money.”
The Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James responded today saying, “Air Force One, although it is a 747 platform, is way, way more than what you would think of as a commercial airliner,” James said in an interview. “It really is, in many ways, a flying White House, in terms of the security. There’s [electronic] countermeasures built in, communications, very high level communications, security of all types. After all, this is carrying the president of the United States. It has to go long distances, it has to survive under difficult circumstances, much more difficulty than a normal civilian airliner. So it is a bit more complicated than perhaps meets the eye.” – Politico
History of Air Force One
In 1953 an incident occurred when a Lockheed Constellation carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the same airspace as a commercial airliner with both aircraft using the call sign Air Force One. This encounter lead to Air Force One being the official air traffic control designation only for any plane carrying the President of the United States.
There are actually two Air Force One 747 aircrafts. In fact, any contract for a new Air Force One will actually be for two identical aircraft not one.
Another interesting fact is the existence of the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center, a modified Boeing 747. Call sign ‘Nightwatch’, the so called ‘doomsday’ aircraft are operated by the US Air Force and act as an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) survivable airborne command center in the event of war. There are some reports that state the President would be transferred to one of these E-4B’s in wartime and that when overseas a E-4B is always within 200 miles.
Featured Image Courtesy of CMSGT HANS H. DEFFNER, USAF [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons