Two jets slated to be­come next Air Force One

Pen­ta­gon re­port­edly is fi­nal­iz­ing a deal to buy two Boe­ing 747s parked in an air­craft ‘bone­yard’ in desert.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Saman­tha Ma­sunaga saman­tha.ma­sunaga @la­times.com Twit­ter: @sma­sunaga

Pen­ta­gon re­port­edly is fi­nal­iz­ing a deal to buy two Boe­ing 747s parked in an air­craft “bone­yard” in the desert.

The next gen­er­a­tion of pres­i­den­tial jet­lin­ers will re­port­edly be two mod­i­fied Boe­ing 747 jumbo jets that were orig­i­nally set for ser­vice with a now-de­funct Rus­sian air­line.

Trade pub­li­ca­tion De­fense One re­ported Tues­day that the Air Force was fi­nal­iz­ing a deal with aero­space gi­ant Boe­ing Co. to buy the two planes, which were ini­tially or­dered in 2013 by Rus­sian air­line Transaero.

The air­line ceased op­er­a­tions in 2015 and never took own­er­ship of the planes, which are now parked along with other re­tired or sur­plus air­craft in a “bone­yard” in the Mo­jave Desert, ac­cord­ing to De­fense One.

Boe­ing has flight-tested the jets and had re­port­edly paid to store the planes in new con­di­tion while look­ing for a buyer.

A source close to the mat­ter con­firmed de­tails of the De­fense One story.

In a state­ment, Air Force spokesman Ann Ste­fanek said, “We’re work­ing through the fi­nal stages of co­or­di­na­tion to pur­chase two com­mer­cial 747-8 air­craft and ex­pect to award a con­tract soon.”

The com­mer­cial jet­lin­ers will go through a num­ber of up­dates — in­clud­ing in­stal­la­tion of top-se­cret com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and aerial re­fu­el­ing ca­pa­bil­ity so the plane can fly for days with­out land­ing — be­fore it be­comes Air Force One.

Boe­ing spokeswoman Caro­line Hutch­e­son said in a state­ment that the com­pany was “still work­ing to­ward a deal to pro­vide two 747-8s to the Air Force” and that the trans­ac­tion was fo­cused on “pro­vid­ing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the tax­payer.”

News of this deal comes months af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump crit­i­cized the cost of a new ver­sion of the iconic pres­i­den­tial jumbo jet, tweet­ing in De­cem­ber that its $4-bil­lion price tag was “out of con­trol.”

Trump later met with Boe­ing Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Den­nis Muilen­burg, who told re­porters af­ter the meet­ing that the Chicago com­pany would build the next gen­er­a­tion of Air Force One for less than $4 bil­lion.

The cur­rent Air Force One air­craft were or­dered by Pres­i­dent Rea­gan and de­liv­ered dur­ing Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Boe­ing’s 747 pro­gram has deep roots in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. A Hawthorne sup­plier still makes the fuse­lage pan­els for the wide-bod­ied jet, though Boe­ing’s pro­duc­tion rate has slowed over time to just six 747s a year.

Gary Coron­ado Los An­ge­les Times

PEO­PLE watch as Air Force One, with Pres­i­dent Obama aboard, takes off from LAX in Oc­to­ber. Two jets poised to be­come the next Air Force One had ini­tially been or­dered in 2013 by a now-de­funct Rus­sian air­line.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.