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Air Force Formalizes $3.9 Billion Air Force One Deal with Boeing

An artist's rendering of the future Air Force One. Courtesy of Boeing
An artist's rendering of the future Air Force One. Courtesy of Boeing

The U.S. Air Force last week awarded Boeing Co. the latest in a series of contracts to deliver two new Air Force One aircraft to the service by 2024.

The service announced July 19 it awarded the company a $3.9 billion firm-fixed-price contract for the two completed Air Force One replacement aircraft. The negotiated cost -- agreed upon by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and President Donald Trump in February -- would save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, the service said in a release.

The contract gives Boeing the authority to "design, modify, test, certify and deliver two presidential, mission-ready aircraft," the Air Force said.

In 2016, the Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to begin preliminary work on the VC-25A Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, better known as PAR. No amount was disclosed.

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According to a fiscal 2019 Defense Department budget proposal, the Pentagon estimated it had already spent $1 billion for two airframes, along with engineering work. The Air Force expected to spend $2.9 billion between 2019 and 2023, the document said.

The two 747-8s were originally ordered for the Russian airline company Transaero in 2013, DefenseOne reported last year. Boeing never delivered the jets to the now-defunct airline and instead put them in storage.

While the Air Force has a firm-fixed-price contract, which locks in a price and puts the company on the hook for cost overruns, Boeing is also expected to receive an additional no-bid contract, which could be worth millions, to sustain the aircraft for at least five years, DefenseOne said.

The news of the contract comes as Trump is weighing a new color scheme for the aircraft. He said he wants to change the current paint scheme, which dates back to the Kennedy era, to a more patriotic look.

"Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that," Trump said in a recent interview with CBS. "But I said, 'I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?' And we're not."

He continued, "Red, white and blue. 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."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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