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AFA: Replacement for Air Force One 'In Our Future'

Air Forces One The U.S. Air Force will need to replace its two Boeing 747 presidential transp...

Air Forces One

The U.S. Air Force will need to replace its two Boeing 747 presidential transport aircraft later this decade, at a time when defense spending is projected to decline.

"We have recognized for several years now that the Air Force One replacement is out there in our future in the late teens," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Sept. 19 during a briefing with reporters at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference in National Harbor, Md.

The program is outside of the Air Force's current five-year budget plan, Donley said. It is, however, inside the 10-year window in which the Pentagon plans to shed $350 billion to $400 billion from its budget.

The Air Force operates two VC-25 aircraft, which fly with the designation "Air Force One" when the president is onboard.

Donley mentioned
the need to replace the VC-25 during his address to thousands of Air Force officials and industry at the conference.

"I specifically mentioned it today because in the context of the budget reductions that we're considering ... is taking us 10 years out or 12 years out," he told reporters after his speech.

"We have to be mindful of what's just outside the [five-year Future Years Defense Plan]," he said. "We know presidential aircraft replacement [is in the] late teens for sure for the United States Air Force, and it needs to be on our screen as a requirement coming down."

In recent years, Boeing officials have touted their new 747-8 as a potential VC-25 replacement.

Airbus parent EADS had previously said it would not pursue the program.

"As we looked at the last opportunity on Air Force One, we determined the program really didn't fit our U.S. strategic business model," Guy Hicks, a spokesman for EADS North America, said Sept. 19.








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