In the coming years, the United States government is expected to take delivery of two new aircraft, which will serve as Air Force One. The livery for these new jets has just been revealed…
Basics of future Air Force One Boeing 747-8s (VC-25Bs)
Boeing planes have been transporting US presidents since President Roosevelt. At the moment there are two Boeing 747-200s that serve as Air Force One (because of their modifications, they’re referred to as VC-25As). Whichever plane the president is flying on serves as Air Force One, so I guess you can say there are two Air Force Ones (though only one gets that designation at a time).
These planes are getting old, as they were delivered in 1987, so they’re over 35 years old. Furthermore, these planes are facing capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence.
As a result, in 2018, former President Trump reached a multi billion dollar deal for ordering two new Air Force Ones. Specifically, the government ordered two Boeing 747-8s, which will be referred to as VC-25Bs.
Keep in mind that Boeing 747 production is totally done. The reason these planes cost so much more than standard Boeing 747s is because of all the extra technology they’re outfitted with, which literally takes years and costs billions of dollars to install.
These modifications include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities.
Not surprisingly, the delivery timeline on these planes has been delayed significantly. They were initially supposed to be delivered to the government in 2024, while the two jets will now be delivered in 2027 and 2028.
A look at the new Air Force One livery
This week, President Biden has unveiled the livery for the new Air Force One, featuring a design that will closely resemble the livery of the current Air Force One, while also modernizing it for the 21st century. There are three primary differences between the new livery and the old livery:
- The light blue on the VC-25Bs will be a slightly deeper, more modern tone than the robin’s egg blue on the VC-25As
- The VC-25Bs engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area, rather than the robin’s egg blue on the VC-25As
- The VC-25Bs will have no polished metal section because modern aircraft skins don’t allow for that
The reason a livery decision was made now is because Boeing needs to conduct engineering, certification preparation, and supplier selection for the program.
Below are some renderings of the new Air Force One livery.
As a point of comparison, below is what the current Air Force One livery looks like.
If you ask me, the new livery looks fantastic. It has the same iconic look as the old one, except it’s more modern. I love it.
Keep in mind that back in 2019, Trump unveiled a patriotic livery that he wanted to put on the new Air Force One.
This livery has been rejected for non-political reasons. A thermal study has concluded that the dark blue in the design would require additional FAA qualification testing for several commercial components due to the added heat in certain environments.
The upcoming Air Force One livery has just been revealed. The livery is very similar to the old one, except it has a much more modern look. I’m happy to see this design being maintained, and think it looks great. Perhaps the bigger update is just how delayed these plane will be, as they’ll now be delivered in 2027-2028.
What do you make of the new Air Force One livery?
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