How Air Force One’s price is being trimmed

Air Force One
Artwork shows a Boeing 747-8 jet outfitted for use as Air Force One. (FSB-Pond Illustration)

President Donald Trump was stretching the truth when he claimed that he trimmed a billion dollars from the cost of procuring the next two Air Force One planes, but a report on Defense One reveals that significant savings are indeed being made – primarily by cutting back on features that are on the existing Air Force One planes.

According to today’s report, there’s at least one capability on the current Boeing 747-200B jets that the Boeing 747-8 planes acquired last month won’t be able to match: aerial refueling.

Air Force sources told Defense One that the current aircraft, which entered presidential service in 1990, have never used that capability. And thanks to an expanded range of nearly 9,000 statute miles, as opposed to the current range of 7,750 miles, the new planes should be able to manage without an in-flight fill-up.

Going without the aerial refueling was just one of the cost-cutting measures that came out of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s December meeting with Trump and the follow-up talks between Boeing and the Pentagon, Defense One reported.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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