Africawings From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 109 posts, RR: 0 Posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 15378 times:
All right folks, a happy New Year to you all!. I was researching something completely unrelated on the government contracting website, when I came across this real RFP (Request For Proposal...see below). It seems that The United States Government is actually conducting market research into the next generation of suitable aircraft to be designated Air Force One (for our future President) beginning in 2017.
The powers that be have concluded (as we had months ago) that the current VC-25 (Boeing 747-200 airframe) is aging and parts are getting expensive, and is actively looking for a suitable replacement.
I thought it would be fun to review and research the topic with you all (and to be honest, I think the insight from this forum would hands down beat any outside research group) to recommend under some "airliners.net" pseudonym to the Government what aircraft is best suited for the new job of Air Force one.
The top two real contenders in my book are the 747-400 and the 747-8i. Sorry guys the A380 doesn't really stand a chance for consideration given the fact that it is too big and is made in Europe. Other aircraft are two engine (Two holers) and as you all know, we've flogged that topic to death (i.e for security reasons the United States would not use a two holer as a long term long range Air Force One aircraft)
The United States Air Force is conducting market research to identify potential sources that possess the expertise, capabilities, and experience to meet the requirements of the next generation Presidential fixed-wing aircraft. The current VC-25 Air Force One, based on the 747-200 airframe, was purchased in 1987 and delivered in 1990 with a 30 year design life. As 747-200s have been retired from airline service, parts and maintenance are becoming increasingly expensive. The Air Force conducted an Analysis of Alternatives to examine if it would be more cost effective to maintain the current Air Force One, or to buy a new aircraft. Given the diminishing parts supplier base, increasing maintenance time, and system upgrades that would be necessary to meet future air traffic control requirements, it was found that replacing the VC-25 was the most cost effective option.
The PAR aircraft will be a new-build, commercial derivative, wide-body aircraft, uniquely modified to meet the current and projected requirements for the worldwide transportation of the Office of the President. Modifications regarding passenger communications, information systems, interior work & rest environment, and aerial refueling must be accomplished before delivery of the aircraft. The delivery of the first operationally capable aircraft is required in FY17, with delivery of the second and third aircraft in FY19 and FY21, respectively. The PAR aircraft must maintain the highest possible mission capable rate.
The PAR aircraft will provide the President of the United States, staff, and guests with safe and reliable air transportation with the appropriate level of security and communications capability. Mission communications must provide secure, interoperable command, control, and communications, using net-centric architectures.
The interior must provide a work and rest environment suitable for the President, guests, and traveling staff. The interior configuration must provide the President with ample work and conference areas (including sleeping, lavatory, shower, and dressing areas). The interior must be accessible to the physically impaired. The interior must be configured with galleys that provide the aircrew with the capability to prepare, serve, and store food and beverages. It must also provide for housekeeping and waste disposal.
The modified aircraft will be Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified, and will meet projected aviation requirements to conduct worldwide flight operations in all civil and military airspace as defined by the FAA, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and Department of Defense (DOD).
EBJ1248650 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1932 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15251 times:
If a four engine airplane is the only choice and it has to be a new build machine; and assuming a foreign design isn't acceptable for the President, doesn't it make sense to just make an announcement that there will be a new Air Force One in 2017 and it will be based on the latest 747 derivative? Are we certain a 777 wouldn't be chosen? Is it possible the rules have changed very recently regarding how many engines the airplane has to have?
GST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 927 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 14999 times:
If they use an F version aircraft that gives advantages of pallet loading the press. Joking aside, they may publically look at an A380 or perhaps even A340 as options, but in the end it will ahve to be a US design. Two holers are out for "safety" reasons (though if you ask me if you double the engines you double the risk of engine failiure). The 747-400 wont be in production in 2017 surely, so that leaves the 747-800 derivatives only IMO. TBH I see the F version being a much better blank canvas for their proposed modifications than the I.
PhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 14994 times:
Quoting GST (Reply 7): I see the F version being a much better blank canvas for their proposed modifications than the I.
Too many problems using the 748F. Just to name a few, no windows, nose door, smaller hump, reinforced floor. All of those changes will require additional expense to have the aircraft certified by the FAA. Using the 748I is a 'no brainer". The current 747-400s used for AF1 have a space problem on the upper deck with all the comm gear. Having the extended upper deck would allow a better comm suite.
In addition, plan on about a 40 ton increase in the ZFW for the outfitted aircraft compared with a standard 748I. Little things like EMP hardening, 2nd APU, ECM and Comm gear all add up!
MCIGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1936 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 14968 times:
Quoting GST (Reply 7): The 747-400 wont be in production in 2017 surely, so that leaves the 747-800 derivatives only IMO. TBH I see the F version being a much better blank canvas for their proposed modifications than the I.
Boeing has already told the USAF that any new-build 747's would have to be the 748. That was as they related to the ABL but the Presidential aircraft would be no different.
Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 8): The current 747-400s used for AF1 have a space problem on the upper deck with all the comm gear. Having the extended upper deck would allow a better comm suite.
The VC-25s are 747-200s without the SUD option. I don't know why they didn't get the super upper deck on them.
ZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3248 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 14957 times:
Well I've got to comment on this AF1 thread, though I generally try to stay out of them, as it seems we now have an actual RFP....
As for the rationale for replacement... Spares availability was given as reason for a new aircraft when the VC-25s were ordered... Strangely enough the 89th AW had no problem keeping 26000 & 27000 going for another decade after they were replaced as the AF1 aircraft & DoD has managed to keep the E-3s, E-6s, and E-8s going - no shortage of 707 spares there... The actual reasons for the retirement of the VC-137s (and I'm referring to all of them not just 26000 & 27000) were corrosion, aircraft noise, reliability, and a changing mission requirement...
I would suggest the real reason for this RFP is that USAF sees the possibility that the 747 line may close in the next 3 - 4 years and along with that closure may come the last chance (for the forseeable future) to order a U.S. aircraft that meets the size, range, and three/four engine requirement. The RFP preserves the possibility to have a U.S. aircraft to replace the VC-25s that in the out years will be 30+ years old.
I find it curious that the RFP mentions the possibility of a third aircraft.
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe
PhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 14942 times:
Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 9): The VC-25s are 747-200s without the SUD option.
The only classic with the SUD option is called the 747-300. That would have been a disaster to use because of the increased ZFW of the stretched upper deck. There were a couple of STCs out to convert the shorter upper deck to the stretch, but there was no Boeing option.
Ikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21029 posts, RR: 60 Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 14828 times:
Yep. And AF1s will be old by then, by traditional standards (if you do the math, you'll see what I mean). I'm surprised the RFP wasn't issued 4 years ago.
I believe it will be the 747 simply because it is an american aircraft and it would look bad to be flying an A380 around (no support for our own products). Same reason congresspeople drive American cars even if they don't want to. The planes would be produced in 2014 then refitted/specialized for 2-4 more years before entering service.
Also, it will be an easier transition if AF moves from 742s to 748s.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
DfwRevolution From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 14823 times:
The President, Vice President, and Secretaries fly on twin-jets all the time. The 777 isn't out just because it's a twin. The White House has the need for something bigger than a 773ER. When the public thinks Air Force One, they think of the 747. That image of Presidential power is what trumps the A380.
DfwRevolution From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 14765 times:
Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 17): The President (and generally SecDef as well) only fly twins domestically. Overseas travel is always 4 engine.....
The President takes the VC-25 overseas because of the size of his entourage. There isn't a twin in USAF service that would be adequate. The VP and Secretaries who have a smaller team have traveled overseas with the C-32 and C-40s a number of times.
Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 17): For diplomatic & protocol reasons alone it would be unacceptable for AF1 to divert in the engine out case
It's not like the Secret Service doesn't prepare diversion plans for the VC-25. Engine-out scenarios aren't the only reason they would need to land unexpectedly. The President is also followed by additional aircraft anyway, so getting stranded is a non-issue. These days twins reach their destination more often than quads in airline service. In the meticulous hands of the USAF, there's no reason to believe a twin would be any less safe or diversion prone.
What kills the 777 and other twins is size, or lack thereof.
ZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3248 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 14750 times:
Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 19): The President takes the VC-25 overseas because of the size of his entourage. There isn't a twin in USAF service that would be adequate. The VP and Secretaries who have a smaller team have traveled overseas with the C-32 and C-40s a number of times.
The entourage that travels aboard AF1 is not as big as you think
Getting stranded is not the issue. Arriving unexpectedly at short notice is. A single engine shutdown on the 747 is pretty much a non event, they wouldn't even need to brief pax. Might even have occurred with the VC-25 in the past and nobody outside the Oval Office and the PPG knows.... With a twin it would be a different story. Short notice arrival at the divert field means: Protocol arrangements, security concerns, diplomatic issues, transportation and housing arrangements, etc all change at the last minute.
1992-1996 - Transportation supervisor/planner with the AF1 detail at ADW
Legal considerations provided by: Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe