The Air Force is angling to see Boeing Co.'s potential design for a new aircraft to replace Air Force One.
The service on Monday asked the Chicago-based aerospace giant for a proposal to complete a "detailed design, modification, test and fielding of two aircraft that will provide presidential worldwide airlift support" beginning around 2024, according to a press release.
The Air Force in May authorized Boeing to submit preliminary designs for the new 747-8s to replace the current VC-25A as part of the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program. The 747-8 is the latest model for Boeing's 747 aircraft.
"This is a significant step forward for this program, which emphasizes cost control and risk reduction, in balance with system performance, to meet the requirements of the presidential mission," Col. Amy McCain, Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program manager, said in the release.
"We are committed to providing the (Executive) Office of the President of the United States with safe, reliable air transportation that provides high levels of security and communication capability," she added.
The Air Force wants Boeing to modify two of the aircraft to include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities, the announcement said.
Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top weapons buyer, recently gave the OK for the request for proposal for Boeing to move forward while applying the results of the ongoing risk-reduction activities to the proposal.
Boeing in January began preliminary work on the new Air Force One for risk-reduction activities, signaling major progress on the program since the company won the contract in January 2015.
"This initial effort is about reducing risk, really understanding where the tough work will be, finding affordability opportunities, and getting the best value for the taxpayer, while continuing to meet the needs of our commander in chief," McCain said in an Air Force release at the time.
The latest proposal requests Boeing work on two aircraft, but the Air Force is not ruling out the potential for a third aircraft for future procurement, the release said.