WASHINGTON (AFNS) --
The Air Force awarded a Boeing contract modification Aug. 4, 2017, to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft for future modification to replace the two aging VC-25A Boeing 747-200 presidential support aircraft.
This contract modification follows a set of awards in 2016 for risk reduction activities. The Air Force has already requested Boeing to provide proposals to design, modify, test and field two Presidential mission-ready aircraft. These efforts will be awarded via future contract modifications. The program expects to begin aircraft modifications in 2019 and reach initial operational capability in 2024.
"This award is a significant step toward ensuring an overall affordable program," said Ms. Darlene Costello, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition. "As we move forward, we will continue to seek and implement cost savings opportunities."
These aircraft will start providing worldwide presidential airlift support in 2024, after a series of modifications and tests. Boeing will modify their Federal Aviation Administration-certified commercial 747-8 aircraft to meet presidential operational requirements to help ensure an affordable program.
In March 2017, following a series of requirements reviews, the White House reaffirmed the minimum set of requirements necessary to meet presidential mission needs. The modifications to the aircraft will include incorporating a mission communications system, electrical power upgrades, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system and autonomous ground operations capabilities.
"Purchasing these aircraft is a huge step toward replacing the aging VC-25As," said Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Presidential Airlift Recapitalization program executive officer. "This award keeps us on track to modify and test the aircraft to become presidential mission-ready by 2024."
Since the aircraft were purchased through commercial contracting procedures, price and other related details are commercial-competition sensitive, meaning the negotiated price paid is not releasable. However, the price will be part of the overall program cost baseline once set and will be released in accordance with the contract publication requirements.