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Report Suggests B-21 Bomber, Boeing 737, as New Air Force One

Back in December, Donald Trump caused a rucks when he tweeted that the costs for replacing Air Force One jets were "out of control." Now that Trump is in office, Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered a full review of the $3.2 billion project to find ways to cut back costs. The aviation industry at large has taken notice. ( More...

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Whoever wrote this 'article' is totally disconnected from reality or got some satire through the cracks. If the former, most likely not a bean counter but instead even further a "BB Stacker". An "Air Force One" demands 4 engines for obvious safety/security reasons regardless of ETOPS being safe for everyone else. There's also equipment/defense capabilities/other secret squirrel stuff/etc. that makes a 737 a joke to even consider. The 747-8 has the best 4 engine economics and tech available these days as well.
mike truman 4
you people know that the 747-8 or maybe even the 787 will be the next AF1 COME ON MANNNN
I hope so. They should make it the 747. A 737 is just too small.
David Barnes 1
Mike: I've heard the 777-200LR bantered about a bit more than the 787, mostly because the aircraft is a bit larger (440 max v. 406 max, and yes, I know it will never be nearly as full), a more proven platform (2006 v. 2011, and no fleet-wide grounding), and about 1000 NM better range. As others have noted, such a change (either the 777 or 787) would require a change to the four engine requirement, but that's more likely than a change to the 737 platform.
David Ross 1
Doesn't matter what the aircraft is. If the president is on board, even if it is a Cessna 172, then it is Air Force One. AF1 is a CALL SIGN, not a type of aircraft.
Scott Smith 2
Even if it's an Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard aircraft? ;)
ReverendLee 1
Nicely done, sir. I missed that one.

Roger Curtiss 1
Army One
Navy One
Marine One
Coast Guard One
as appropriate
Scott Smith 1
Did you see this ;) at the end of my post? I'm aware of that and have actually laid hands on a VH-60N and remember the S-3B Navy One landing aboard USS Lincoln (CVN-72).
ReverendLee 2
Yes, we know all about the call sign.

Without a tail number (28000 & 29000) or a model (Boeing 742) or a military type (VC-25), what would you suggest we use to identify the plane most commonly used to transport the president? This is about a future, unknown aircraft that is designed specifically to be the aircraft most commonly designated as AF1.
Roger Curtiss 1
How about 'Primary Presidential Transport aircraft'? A bit wordy...yes, but more accurate to those in the know.
Joseph Nevis 2
This "report" had little to do with Trump asking about the cost of the 747 program. It was written by a SOFTWARE/Technology consulting firm, according to the AW&ST article, and the media ran with it.

I agree that the 767/777 would probably be a better choice, but for right now it won't happen. ETOPS numbers be damned, it has to have four engines, therefore the only other option would be the A340 which is not in production. The A380 is to big and limited to only certain airfields.

There already is a 737 variant with air refueling capability (P-8A/Wedgetail) so range isn't the issue. 737 would need three aircraft to get all the people and equipment anywhere.
Lets not discuss the stealth AF1, shall we.
Richard Klima 2
Leave the press at home. Let them fly commercial.
ReverendLee 0
Can't do it. There are responsibilities that the press have that can only be accomplished if they are physically with the president.

The traveling press corps has been perhaps most widely known as the first to report on immediate threats to the president’s safety, as well as covering some of the biggest crises of the past century.

Several pool reporters accompanied President George W. Bush to an elementary school in Florida on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, expecting the event to be little more than a photo opportunity. As the terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. unfolded, those journalists became some of the first people to hear from the president.

The president’s press corps is also the first to deliver news on his safety and well-being, being the first to cover such moments as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

The White House press and traveling press corps can also capture spontaneous elements in the president's life, while being able to ask questions outside of the strict structure of a press conference. This type of open communication is a bedrock of democracy, according to Wagner.

“Shutting out independent, adversarial media professionals is something dictators do,” he said.

So, no. The press can't just "fly commercial." If Steve Bannon gets to fly on AF1, so does The New York Times.
joel wiley 2
A cynic was described as "A man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing."

It is cynical to propose a 2 engine AF-1 on price. The aircraft isn't just a delivery vehicle for POTUS, but a a backup communications hub and command center for the American government when conditions present a clear and present danger to the Republic.

Risk is Probability times Impact. Lose one of two engines and the AC becomes a lame duck and needs to put down somewhere, most anywhere now, or very soon now. What is the chance of that happening in a crisis? What is the impact? Prudence dictates 4 engines.

If LOTUS is that concerned over price, let him keep using his 757 and take the business mileage deduction. So what if the risk is higher the price is right, eh?
boughbw 0
Deducation? You think he pays taxes?
joel wiley 1
Who knows? Not the American people.
william baker 2
And this is gonna work how. The 747 has twice the range and more then twice the space then the 737.
That isn't it, and Trump is definitely proving that he is as ignorant as he sounds.

The biggest reason why they AF1 has always been a heavy jet is for the REDUNDANCY. From a Lockheed Constellation to a B707 to a B747.. hell, even going back to the Boeing 314, they have always relied on an aircraft with dual redundant engines. Even with ETOPS compliance and all the security requirements needed, a B737 loses that redundancy, let alone won't have the range to make it to most destinations they'd fly to.

Case in point: A B747 could make KADW-RKSI nonstop. Even if Trump went with the B737 MAX BBJ, he'd have to stop to refuel either at PANC or or barely make Tokyo to be forced to refuel.

Idiot move here. Complete idiot move.
Mike Petro 6
Please, please, please, do NOT put him in an aircraft capable of dropping bombs!
You get the award for the best comment. I literally was laughing so hard I couldn't relate your comment to my wife.
linbb -9
Sounds more like you are the idiot as he got the price down unlike you demos who buy anything at list price.

Too bad you felt the need to shoot your mouth off about the current Prez and not the old ineffective one.
Steven Fortson 11
Actually he didn't. The cost estimate was up to $3.8B. After meeting with Trump, Boeing swore to keep costs below $4B.

As to this, this think tank is idiotic. A 737 couldn't carry all the equipment required on AF1. And a B-21 is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard.
william baker 4
Thank you Steven
21voyageur 2
Let's not kid ourselves. Trump has no idea of needs and is simply using this as an example of his ability (?) to "make a deal" and find a villain to dump on. Petty and embarrassing.
btweston 0
Donald Trump is about as Republican as Donald Duck. He's a moron with a rich father who has spent his life getting away with things, and now he gets to play president while a team of goons selected by the Republican party hands him pieces of paper to sign.

So far, if you read the news, you'll find that "ruling" by tweet hasn't been so effective. You really want to carry water for this guy?

In any event, spouting off about how expensive something is without any level of analysis nor any idea what should be done instead is not leadership.
chuck martin 1
Please take your political musings to a fake news blog to vent. Lets stick to the discussion of AF1, and what is the best jet to fill the role?
joel wiley 1
I presume you are using the second person plural there.
matt jensen -3
He beat out 16 other contenders, so he's neither a dummy or moron. Yes, he has a rich family and he does have a tremendous ego. But he's very smart.
21voyageur 4
I would suggest that he possesses average intelligence, very low on the political knowledge and anything but deal making spectrum BUT he is simply very cunning. In reality, Trump is the result of a flawed process. The Republican party allowed this cunning individual into the hen house. We are unfortunately living the results of that carelessness. Frightening and embarrassing times.
Dave Fisher 3
"He beat out 16 other contenders, so he's neither a dummy or moron"

that speaks more about his contenders than it does about him.

"he's very smart" you just indicated your level of intelligence...
josh homer 3
That says more about the voters than him. He has the attention span of a flea, and needs reports cut down to one page. He is not a smart person at all.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

21voyageur 1
And the point and relevance of your comment is????????
Dave Fisher 1
he inherited his money, homer. he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple... doh!
Bob Roehrer 0
here we go again; another one drinking Trumps rocket fuel. He (Trump) knows more than anyone else about things aviation..just ask him.
Dave Fisher 0
linbb: "Too bad you felt the need to shoot your mouth off about the current Prez and not the old ineffective one."
well, it took the old Prez 8 years to prove his ineffectiveness. trump did it in less than a week...
william baker -2
I second that
linbb -8
Since you think he isn't then you need to read things that have happened in the last eight years that were not great rather than pick and choose.
James Simms -1
matt jensen 1
Mostly to carry reporters,
There's a lot more than just carrying reporters to the plane.
mark jones 1
If I were King of the Forrest, I'd go for a VTOL conversion of a 747. Just think..... Add a couple more engines, some ducted fans, a few of those fiddly bits computer thingies to make it work and other parts to make it look cool. Just imagine; Watching that big plane lift into the air, straight up. Then a pivot to go thataway. Transition to forward flight, and wow. Just, wow!
Thomas Mchugh 1
Many years ago with 320th EVAC hospital on hill overlooking KSWF I witnessed AF! landing with President Regean, who was heading to West Point. Very impressive, even more so then the C5A that were co-located with us that we saw all the time.
Jim Goldfuss 1
Just curious, I saw it mentioned - why not the 787? Is it too new? Seems to me it could do the distance and would have more space compared to a 73...
Jim Goldfuss 1
I remember when United mandated that 737's needed 3 crewmembers...perhaps the 4 engine requirement should be looked at as well....I would still miss Big Bird though, she is a beauty.
David Ross 2
No, it wasn't United who mandated 3 crew members in the 737. It was the union that demanded this, even though there was no requirement for it. Just typical union featherbedding.
Too many niggling little issues still, and they're stuck in the 4 is better mentality for now.
21voyageur 1
Perfect timing for Trump to do something about policy. Review and have it changed if that is the consensus. That said, not sure that Trump knows how to work policy as there is no "deal" to be made and driving toward consensus is not in his skill set. Bull in a China shop. Mile wide , , , , inch deep.
Tim Gaffron 1
Not sure we are ready to have the POTUS flying around in a European-built Airbus. Does make sense to adjust rules to allow a more cost efficient aircraft to be used for short hop continental US trips, but gotta have that 4-engine redundancy for any overseas or longer domestic trips. IMHO
Tim Gaffron 1
Is the C-17 totally out of production now? Possibility there?
chuck martin 1
Many of you have made the obvious point very clear, safety and redundancy are the risk drivers here. 4 engine aircraft are an absolute necessity here for any overseas adventures that any current or future POTUS need to have under there feet. Common sense dictates this.

As for any replacements for the other Presidential fleet aircraft, B757 and B737 airframes, those are used by the various other administration dept heads and executives such as the VPOTUS. Past POTUS have used the 757 aircraft for CONUS trips. Used instead of VC25 for various reasons.

Using a twin engine platform for CONUS trips is a good economics play as well as it allows access to more smaller regional airfields especially when having to visit crisis areas in the country.

So maybe we replace the smaller fleet in the future with more up to date airframes such as the 787 or 767 or 737. I my opinion it isn't necessary to have to take the 47 out for a 3 hour tour to Kansas or Idaho to hold a rally or have a meeting.

Take the more cost effective jet to do the task. But overseas and out of country? Take the beast and show it off.
ReverendLee 1
Until you think back to 2001. President Bush needed the capabilities of the 747 on that trip to Florida. If, as you propose, he had been in a smaller airframe, many of the communication and defensive systems would (most likely) been absent. It's not just being equipped with four engines, it's the internal space for equipment that makes a plane the size of the 748 necessary.
Peter Maas 1
The Boeing 787-10 should become AIR FORCE ONE. It is 18 feet longer then earlier designs.
Fuel efficient and can fly for 12 hours before re-fueling. The "Dreamliner" can also land on shorter runways.

[This poster has been suspended.]

joel wiley 1
And all of the cameras pointed to the RSO seat.
michael lange 1
I'm more interested in the message AF1 sends to the rest of the planet. It is a physical representation of what the United States is. Pretty sure Obama should have had stealth bomber
Carlos Rivera 1
Well,for AF1 Boeing can make a special edition of the 737....remember it will be a refuel in flight it can fly saving millions for the nation is a good decision....
mike SUT 5
And when it loses an engine in flight, it becomes an emergency inflight with the President the United States maybe landing in a country not of his choosing and without the proper security necessary for his safety. I see that Pres. Trump has NO PROBLEM flying around in Air Force One despite having a fleet of 757s, 737s, Gulfstreams at Andrews available. Where's the savings there for the American taxpayer. Took a 747 from DC to FL last week, could have done it in a VC37 for one quarter the cost and saved us $$$$
matt jensen 3
Prior to the election he was on B757's - which if I'm not mistaken has two engines.
ReverendLee 1
He flew around in one 757-200 (which is no longer in production because it was a horrid beasty).

As for him flying around in a 2-engine jet: He wasn't the President, it was his plane (as in he owns it), he wasn't responsible for running the country from the air in case of disaster, he could have crashed and there wouldn't have been a national emergency.

Other than those things…
21voyageur 4
And he bought the aircraft as a second hand (used) bird from someone far richer than he is and he had no trouble flying it around the world which further supports the point that this rapidly tiring "let's make a deal" story is all about his brand. Sorry to say but it is becoming clearer that this is all about the Donald, not about the country, not about the voters, not about the public, not about the media, not about the Syrians, not about the Mexican rapists and bad guys, and the list will get longer. Sad that such a dynamic country has collapsed to this level of political folly.
The President does occasionally fly on a C-37 or C-40. Usually going into somewhere with a smaller runway.
James Simms 1
The last President came to Tuscaloosa, AL two days after our EF-4 tornado that killed 44 here, 262 statewide. Flew into TCL w/the 757 as as it's the largest plane the airport can handle. Took a tour of the airport last Friday & the airport manager says the limiting factor for the 6500' runway is plane weight.
There are no 737s big enough to carry the required equipment though. It was tight on the VC-137 when there wasn't as much gear.
Maybe the required equipment isn't really required. Most of what's required now can be carried on a smart phone. Out of control spending has to be reeled in, no better place to start than at the top.
They can get rid of the VCRs,and some of the other equipment, but they require a lot of secured communications over multiple methods, extensive defensive gear, and other equipment.

I agree out of control spending does need to be cut, but when you but two or three aircraft the cost is going to be high. Boeing is building these for a loss too.
M.F. LaBoo 2
Yep, the Russian spycam is already built into that smart phone.
Duane Osman 0
If I were the 'Donald', I would think an F/A 18 Super would work just fine. Wherever you went, you would arrive with a big grin on your face.
chuck martin 1
It would work for any POTUS. Recall the swagger that GWB had when he jumped out that S-3 on the carrier deck? He was feeling pretty darn cocky.
jet4ang -1
Trump has no clue and is all about popularity.
Tom21171 0
I vote for 787-10. He's going to rollout on Friday.
ReverendLee -1
Hey! How about a couple of LM-100J Herculeses? Tons of parts available in the stream, it has limited takeoff and landing requirements, there's a military version capable of refueling, it has 4 engines, a rear loading ramp, and electronic countermeasures.

If Donny wants to slash the costs, just pull a few C-130s out AMARC and equip them with encrypted walkie-talkies and a Garmin GPS.

It's perfect!
ReverendLee 0
"If Donny wants to slash the costs, just pull a few C-130s out of AMARC and equip them with encrypted walkie-talkies and a Garmin GPS."


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