SPECIAL: Joe Biden has not had a chance to take the Air Force One, according to Military News, in the following:
Biden Has ‘Not Spent a Moment’ Considering Air Force One’s Paint Job, Press Sec Says
President Joe Biden’s priorities don’t include deliberating over former President Donald Trump’s proposed Air Force One makeover, according to the White House’s top spokesperson.
“I can confirm for you here the president has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Friday. Psaki was first asked about the plane’s livery change Wednesday.
In 2018, Trump sat down with CBS Evening News’ anchor Jeff Glor to unveil his redesign ideas, including the new paint scheme, which would strip the iconic aircraft of its Kennedy baby blue color.
Trump quoted a previous discussion he had with Boeing Co., which makes the Air Force’s VC-25A, a modified 747. The aircraft uses the call sign “Air Force One” only when the president is on board.
“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not,” Trump told Glor. Instead, the plane was to be painted red, white and blue for a more patriotic look, he explained.
“Air Force One is going to be incredible. It’s gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate,” Trump said.
However, the replacement for the aging Air Force One platform has yet to be delivered — or even fully modified.
In 2016, the Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to begin preliminary work on the VC-25 Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, better known as PAR. The VC-25B program — a follow-on to the current VC-25A — began modifying the first of two Boeing 747-8 aircraft last year. The planes were originally ordered for the Russian airline company Transaero in 2013, DefenseOne reported in 2017. Boeing never delivered the jets to the now-defunct airline and instead put them in storage.
The first phase of aircraft modification involved “cutting out large skin and structure areas in both the forward and aft lower lobes of the aircraft and then installing two newly manufactured superpanels,” Air Force Materiel Command, which is overseeing the upgrades, said in March 2020.
The superpanels contain structural upgrades “and cutouts for the VC-25B lower lobe doors, including internal airstairs for mission requirements,” the command said.
Boeing spent 2019 removing the aircraft’s commercial interior, engines, auxiliary power units and “numerous secondary system components,” officials said.
Other updates include “electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, executive interior, and autonomous ground operations capabilities,” according to the command.
The aircraft passed its critical design review last spring, according to Defense News.
But that hasn’t stopped the Air Force from looking toward a future platform. In August 2020, the service took initial steps to begin prototyping a supersonic aircraft that could someday carry the president around the world in half the time.
The Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate that month awarded a $1 million contract to Exosonic, a start-up aerospace company, to begin the design and development of a low-boom executive airlift concept.
That same month, the service awarded Hermeus Corp, another start-up developing Mach 5 commercial aircraft, a $1.5 million contract to begin research on how it could modify and apply its commercial prototype to the military’s VIP fleet.