by Jake Meister, Real Time Digital Reporter,
The Air Force awarded Boeing a $25.7 million contract on Friday to provide risk reduction work for the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization Program, which will ultimately lead to the development of the next Air Force One, a Boeing 747-8.
Under the agreement, Boeing will provide work that should produce “a lower risk Engineering and Manufacturing Development program and lower life cycle costs,” the Air Force announced in a statement.
Boeing will eventually receive contract modifications from the Air Force to deliver the wide-bodied 747-8 aircraft, all of which will undergo a slew of upgrades to meet the needs of transporting the President.
“This is the start of our contractual relationship with Boeing. It will allow Boeing to begin working on what will be the next Air Force One,” said Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program manager.
“McCain continued “We are focused on ensuring this program is affordable. This contract gets us started on determining how to modify a 747-8 to become the next Air Force One, and finding opportunities for cost reduction through detailed requirements choices, competition of subsystems, and in the sustainment of the aircraft after it has been fielded.”
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James echoed McCain’s statement, saying that developing the Air Force One at an affordable price will be paramount. James also said that Air Force One “is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America” and that the future aircraft will be able to “execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America [in a manner] consistent with the national public interest.”
The Air Force said it will encourage competition for the work needed to sustain the aircraft throughout its life cycle, which is slated to be 30 years. The military branch hopes a clash for the contracts among companies lower costs, promote innovation, and give the military more technical options. The military thinks it might be able to force the competition by owning a portion of the technical baseline involved with the Air Force One.
James said that while the current Air Force One Fleet has worked well, of all the Boeing VC-25A aircraft need to be replaced due to increased need for maintenance, obsolete parts, and decreasing manufacturing sources.
Boeing will conduct the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract work in Seattle and Everett, Wash. The labor is slated to be finished by April 21, 2017, according to the DoD.