Startvalve, you are of course right that the Gulfstream would have no business as AF1 today. It would take an entirely different world (where the president doesn't need to "run" the country every minute), the world which we are all hoping for in the future, but which is so different that we have severe difficulties even to imagine it today.
And I also agree that a new AF1 today might very likely be a 747, but I wouldn't rule out the C-17 completely. In the right color scheme it could be a quite pretty plane.
But many people think that when the president travels, then he picks a VC
-25 and his people and goes off. That may be the way when doing domestic journies, but when going abroad...
Some five years ago Bill Clinton paid a 22 hours long visit to the Danish Queen and the city Copenhagen. He arrived on TWO VC
-25 and THREE Lockheed C-5B
Galaxy. The Galaxies of course in full war paint scheme. Nobody knew which VC
-25 was AF1 until it parked at the red carpet. It was like an invation of Copenhagen Airport.
The Galaxies carried a large fleet of heavy vehicles and three helicopters. The president went straight on a helicopter to the lawn at the Queen's summer residence. All three helicopters arrived at the same time, but from three different angles, and landed simultaneously. Again nobody knew which one carried the president until we saw which one landed at the red carpet.
This was just a friendly visit to one of the most peaceful countries and one of USA's closest allies - the only country, except Britain, which from the beginning to this very day has been standing tough side by side both with mouth and troops in the present Iraq conflict.
A few hundred thousand people were waving Stars and Stripes and Danebrog while Bill C was making his speech at the royal palace balcony. It was one big, happy party from arrival to departure.
I can tell you, the US president travels with overweight baggage!!!
: The Danish Queen does travel on a Gulfstream (when she doesn't go on a scheduled airliner - on first class). She doesn't run the country when abroad, the Crown Prince does. Or his younger brother takes his motorbike from his farmhouse to the royal palace. Or the Queen's younger sister takes her BMW 700 from her home in Germany.
It doesn't need to be more complicated than that. Or at least we thought so until the murder of the Swedish foreign minister a couple of weeks ago.