The $3.9 billion contract has been handed to Boeing for the construction of two 747-8 airliners. The new vessels will be used in the presidential fleet, Air Force One, and will be ready for use by December 2024.
The planes will also undergo some changes from the planes currently in use and will be painted red, white, and blue.
Reuters has more:
The Pentagon announced the decision on Tuesday, saying Seattle-based Boeing’s previously awarded contract for development work had been expanded to include design, modification and fielding of two mission-ready presidential 747-8 aircraft.
The contract followed the outlines of the informal deal reached between Boeing and the White House in February. That agreement came after President Donald Trump objected to the $4 billion price tag of a previous Air Force One deal, complaining in a Twitter post that “costs are out of control” and adding “Cancel order!”
The White House said in February the new deal would save taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, but those savings could not be independently confirmed.
Air Force budget documents released in February for fiscal year 2019 disclosed a $3.9 billion cost for the two-aircraft program. The same 2018 budget document, not adjusted for inflation, showed the price at $3.6 billion.
The new planes will be designed in such a way to act as a mobile White House in emergency situations. They will be modified with military avionics, a complex communications system and will feature self-defense elements, Reuters reports.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 18, 2018
President Trump specified that he wanted the color scheme, both interior and exterior, to be different from the current scheme and to reflect a red, white, and blue patriotism. The current exterior scheme features white and two shades of blue. This has been the standard since the 1960s.
“It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate,” Trump said, per Fox Business. Here’s more:
The new livery depicting the colors of the American flag will replace the current white and light blue design, which President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy selected. AxiosOpens a New Window. previously reported that Trump had requested a red, white and blue paint scheme to give Air Force One a more patriotic look.
President Trump confirms big changes are in store for Air Force One. He tells @CBSEveningNews‘ @JeffGlor the new model of the plane will be updated, both inside and out and will be painted red, white and blue.
“It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world.” -POTUS pic.twitter.com/5TX1qA3mcI
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) July 17, 2018
In a tweet, Boeing said they were “proud” to be granted the opportunity to construct the new planes and complimented Trump on negotiating a better deal for American taxpayers.
“Boeing is proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers,” Boeing tweeted. “President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people.”
Boeing is proud to build the next generation of Air Force One, providing American Presidents with a flying White House at outstanding value to taxpayers. President Trump negotiated a good deal on behalf of the American people. pic.twitter.com/m0HtGfXVlv
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) February 27, 2018