December 7, 2016

PROCUREMENT: Boeing Said to Offer Talks on Air Force One After Trump Tweets.

The Pentagon already is budgeting $3.2 billion for research and development, military construction and acquisition of two of the Air Force One planes through fiscal 2021, said Kevin Brancato, the lead government contracts analyst for Bloomberg Government. More money is anticipated in the two years after that. Boeing 747-8 planes average about $225 million each, he said, which means most of the expenses will go to outfitting the planes for presidential use.

The Air Force and Boeing are still conducting work to reduce the program’s technical risks before the company is awarded an advanced development contract, Captain Michael Hertzog, a spokesman for the service branch, said in an e-mail. Budgeted spending can be expected “to change as the program matures with the completion of the risk reduction activities,” he said.

“This is what an Air Force One costs,” Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, said of Trump’s tweet. “There have been no cost overruns. The ability to fly the president during a war is fundamentally expensive.”

The Boeing executives who contacted Trump officials suggested that the price of the new planes could be reduced if the Air Force and Secret Service revise their specifications for the aircraft, the people familiar with the discussions said.

The US military already flies four “doomsday planes,” capable of staying airborne while commanding any conflict up to and including a full-scale nuclear war. Militarized 747s with “what is likely the most complete and sophisticated spectrum of communications equipment ever flown,” all four E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Posts together cost a little less than one billion in 1998 dollars.

But today we can’t build a pair Air Force one jets for less than $3.2 billion?

Something doesn’t seem right.

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