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The United States Air Force is looking to renew their presidential plane, the Air Force One. If all goes according to plan, whoever is president of the United States in 2024 will get to be the first commander in chief to appreciate the new versions of the iconic airplane.
There are currently two Air Force One planes that are both identical. They are Boeing 747-200 and are to be replaced with the newer and more efficient Boeing 747-800. The newer jets are based off the current jets but are expected to be longer, wider, and capable of flying faster and farther.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to have his own presidential plane in 1943. With the first presidential jets being a Boeing 314 Clipper and a Douglas C-54C (DC-4) Skymaster, U.S. presidents went through several different types of airplanes until the Boeing 747-200 that we know today was introduced to the George H. W. Bush administration.
The current Air Force Ones have been in operation for about 29 years, although they have been around for a while, they are still considered some of the most technologically advanced aircrafts in the world. While a lot of the jet’s technical details and specifications are classified due to security concerns, we still know enough to convince the public how advanced these 747s are. For example, Air Force One is capable of refueling mid flight, making it possible to keep the flying Oval Office airborne as long as there is food and water onboard. The plane also sports high tech anti-missile technologies to keep the president and whoever’s onboard safe when taking off, landing, and cruising.
Alongside the plane’s defensive capabilities, there are rumors that jet is capable of offensive capacity. If there are any weapons on the 747s then they are classified, but what is known is that no matter where the president flies he will be escorted by friendly fighter jets to detect and protect him from any threats.
Boeing mentions that Air Force One’s wirings are all heavily enforced, so if a nuclear blast were to go off the jets electronics would not be harmed from any electromagnetic pulses. This and the previously mentioned features enable the president to run the country almost indefinitely from the skies in a worst case, catastrophic scenario.
The current jets come equipped with personal quarters for the president and first lady, office areas for senior staff, communication operation areas, work and rest areas for staff and the traveling media, as well as two kitchens that can serve 100 meals at a time.
Similar to the existing jets, the new presidential 747s are also shrouded in mystery. What we do know for sure is that the new jets will have better and more efficient engines allowing for flight ranges of almost 1000 nautical miles more than its predecessor on one tank of gas. The engines also allow for higher speeds, with speeds reaching .855 mach, the new 747-800 is about 12 miles per hour faster than its predecessor. A speed boost of 12 mph may not seem as much, but if you take into consideration that the newer jets have a maximum take off weight that is 150,000 pounds more than the older jets, then that extra speed is significant.
The new 747-800 Air Force Ones will emit less co2 emissions and allow for an opportunity to fully upgrade all the existing systems on the jet.
Popsci.com reports that the Boeing 747-800 are expected to cost the U.S. taxpayer a total sum of $3.9 billion, so you can be sure that the future president will have the best in avionics, mobility, mission communication systems, self defense systems, and, of course, comfort, whenever traveling around the world.