Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an aircraft. In the late 1950’s two Lockheed Constellations: Constellation II and Constellation III, it was during an incident in 1953 when President Constellation II, carrying Dwight D. Eisenhower, entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same call sign, that the call sign ‘Airforce One’ began to be used. Other notable planes include two Boeing 707s, one of which you might have seen sitting in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library where it was featured in the second Republican Primary Debate late last year. The Boeing 747-200B series aircraft that the President currently uses were commissioned During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and came into use during the presidency of George H.W. Bush, making them 26 years old.
Despite their ripe old age (In Presidential Plane terms) the custom 747-200B is still one of the most impressive aircraft in the world. The Plane has both secure and insecure lines allowing the President to run the country even during times of crisis from Airforce One, Special armor plating capable of withstanding the blast on a ground nuclear weapon, flares and other missile scrambling technology. That being said many believe that an upgrade is long overdue, technology has developed significantly since the 1990s. When the Aircraft were commissioned one of the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment onboard was a fax machine, now in the age of mobile phones that technology is gone and the security and technology of the Presidential plane has not significantly improved.
But that proposition is a costly one, Donald Trump’s $4 Billion was not entirely correct, but wasn’t far off. A March 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, estimated the cost of the overall program at $3.21 billion, including the purchase of two aircraft. The New Aircraft would be developed by Boeing, who have built planes for U.S Presidents since 1943. “We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States,” the company said in a statement. The Aircraft aren’t due for completion anytime soon so any cost’s will only be rough estimates and the true costs will likely be unknown for some years. The two Custom Boeing 747-8 aircraft are due to be completed by 2024, that is, unless President elect Donald Trump cancels the order as he hinted at in his tweet.
– Jack Comer-Hudson, Capital HardTalk.