When the AF
-1 747-200 was selected, the 747-300 had already been in service a few years (-300 went into service in 1983). However, the 747-300 did not meet some of the requirements in the AF
-1 Request for Proposal (RFP). The Air Force had total cumulative fleet hours, engine service, and other requirements that the -300 did not meet. Therefore the -200 was offered.
The reason why AF1 has in-flight refueling is interesting. The competition for the AF
-1 contract was between the DC-10 and the 747. The way the RFP was written initially, the DC-10 could not meet the range requirement, but the 747 could. Then the RFP was revised to require in-flight refueling capability. This was done to keep the DC-10 in the competition, even though the 747 could meet the range without the refueling system. After Boeing won the contract they offered to not install the system and refund the savings, but the government said no. There is a book written about this by Chuck Fisher, the Boeing flight test pilot. I can't remember the name.
I don't think they have ever used the in flight refueling system on AF
-1, especially with the President on board.
BTW, Boeing bid $250M for the contract for the two AF1 aircraft. $250M was the cost for two regular 747s at the time. They lost about $350M on the total project, but Boeing management did not want the President in a DC-10.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.