Work Begins on Air Force One Replacement

Pentagon studying needs for new presidential fleet.

Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One

The U.S. Air Force has started the process of replacing the two VC-25A Boeing 747-200Bs that serve as Air Force One when the president is on board, with a goal of procuring new aircraft within the next decade.

The Pentagon officially authorized the acquisition program late last week, according to a report by Bloomberg News. The authorization also reportedly includes new Marine One helicopters as well.

The Pentagon wants to procure replacement presidential aircraft for use starting as early as 2020. The first of the two current VC-25A Boeing 747-200B aircraft that serve as Air Force One entered service in September 1990, with an expected service life of 30 years.

The first phase of the program will focus on completing a market analysis and assessment of performance requirements for the airplanes, Bloomberg reported. The Pentagon has budgeted $757 million through 2017 for the first phase of the Air Force One replacement and $1.84 billion for the helicopter replacement through 2017, the report said.

The Air Force first will decide whether to buy sole-source from Boeing or open the contest to other competitors. There was no word on the number of airplanes that might be purchased.