Airbus could build next Air Force One; 747 due to be replaced
I'm taking John Pike's side on this one:...
For nearly two decades, Boeing's 747 jumbo jet has served as the president's flying White House, projecting America's might wherever it landed.
But in the next decade, "United States of America" could end up being emblazoned on an even bigger plane that has been a symbol of European unity and pride.
The 747 Air Force One is scheduled to be replaced, and the new plane is likely to be stuffed with top-secret gee-whiz gadgetry, including countermeasures to thwart missile attacks, and aerial-refueling capabilities so it can fly for days without landing.
That's on top of comforts likely to make even the world's richest jet setters envious, including a medical facility and lavish staterooms with showers.
What it will not have is a presidential escape pod, analysts said, a feature that became an urban legend, thanks to a 1997 action film that starred Harrison Ford.
2016 is target date
It is unlikely that President-elect Obama will get a chance to fly in a new Air Force One because the replacement isn't scheduled to begin flying until 2016 at the earliest. It takes up to three years just to modify the plane so it can withstand attacks and enable the president to command from the sky.
But for the first time, the Pentagon has raised the prospect that the replacement for the most photographed and most advanced passenger jet in the world could come from a firm overseas.
In a move certain to raise the political ire of the "buy American" crowd in Congress, the Air Force has requested information from aircraft makers, including Airbus, of Europe, to replace the aging 747 jet. Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, has built presidential jets since the early 1960s.
"I just can't see how they could allow that to happen," John Pike, director of the military policy Web site GlobalSecurity.org, said about congressional reaction to an Airbus plane. "The American president getting off of an American plane has been a major part of U.S. being a superpower."
Boeing Only Contender for New Air Force One
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. and its Airbus commercial aircraft manufacturing subsidiary is not planning to compete against Boeing for the prestigious contract to supply three planes to transport future U.S. presidents, according to company officials.
Cpt O'Hagen: "I swear to God I'm going to pistol whip the next guy who says, Shenanigans." -Super Troopers
Location: various cities in the USofA: NYC, BWI, IAH, ORD, CVG, NYC
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Originally Posted by DeafFlyer
Considering how they take care of them, they are relatively yountg.
But they are based on the 747-200; spare parts cost and availability may very well be a serious issue in 2016. Keeping the 90 or so B-52Hs running is not quite so bad, as you have some economy of scale. The US has only 2 VC-25s.
Given the time it takes to make a replacement, it's high time they got started.