Feeds

Could the Airbus A380 be the new Air Force One?

Obama's chopper is European

Top three mobile application threats

The US government has issued a "survey" in which it asks industry to offer proposals for a replacement Air Force One - the presidential plane. A modernised Boeing jumbo jet is by far the likeliest contender, but one should note that the planned new presidential helicopters will actually be European made - there is an outside chance for the Airbus A380 superjumbo as the President's aeroplane.

Corporate art of the new Marine One in presidential paintjob

The President would never fly in a foreign aircraft. Err...

The US Air Force, in charge of the commander-in-chief's longhaul transport, has issued a request for information under the banner "Presidential Aircraft Recapitalisation". As the airmen note, the existing VC-25 planes are modified Boeing 747-200s, a type which has now ceased service with airlines. This has made spare parts and tech support much more expensive than formerly.

According to the USAF, this means the time has come to get some new planes:

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 new jets will be "a new-build, commercial derivative, wide-body aircraft" to be delivered from 2017, with second and third planes following at two-yearly intervals. Assuming that something at least as large as a 747-200 is wanted, this would seem to limit the field to just two candidates: Boeing's jumbo, still being manufactured in the form of the much-modernised 747-8, and the European double-decker megalifter, the Airbus A380. The Ilyushin Il-96 doesn't seem especially likely still to be on offer by 2017, and hasn't sold especially well even in Russia.

Normally, America's Boeing would be seen as a foregone conclusion. However, the replacements for the current Presidential helicopters (operated by the US Marines, callsign "Marine One") are actually based on the EH/AW 101 design from UK/Italian company AgustaWestland, already in service with European armed forces under the name "Merlin". So the unthinkable concept of the US president travelling in a foreign aircraft is already reality. (Albeit the US 101 presidential choppers are being assembled in the States, and will see a lot of American workshare.)

Furthermore, the US Air Force recently said it wanted to place a huge order for air-to-air refuelling tankers in Europe rather than with American factories. As it turned out, the USAF was told to think again by oversight politicians and authorities in Washington, and the tanker deal remains in flux. But the air force itself would seem to have an open mind on the question of buying overseas, and at least initially it is the air force which will handle the Air Force One purchase.

Flight International quotes Boeing spokesmen as saying: "Clearly we understand the presidential requirements ... [we] look forward to supporting our customer’s needs in the future."

Airbus said it would "settle on a course of action" after reviewing the air force call for information. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.