US Air Force Finds Way to Lower Cost of Air Force One

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The U.S. Air Force is in the process of finalizing a deal with Boeing for the purchase of two 747-8 passenger jets once slated for a now defunct Russian airline.

"This deal is focused on providing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer", Boeing told AFP.

The bulk of the $4 billion price tag the president cited pays for the unique electronics and hardening requirements that go into Air Force One to enable it to meet the unique mission requirements of being a mobile command center for the President of the United States.

"We're working through the final stages of coordination to purchase two commercial 747-8 aircraft and expect to award a contract soon", Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in an email while not directly discussing specific aircraft. The Pentagon is now working on a contract with Boeing to repurpose two of those planes, which are each listed at $368.8 million.

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Shortly after last year's election, Trump tweeted that the "costs are out of control" for the new Air Force One planes and wrote, "Cancel order". "This effort will ensure delivery of two aircraft by December" instead of late fiscal 2019 and early 2020 as planned now, according to the request.

The Air Force said the acceleration will take advantage of Boeing's favorable pricing, which is contingent upon a contract award by this month.

Boeing typically sells 747-8s for around $390 million (£297m), but it is unclear what discount it might be willing to give on the mothballed jets. "Depending on market conditions, it is reasonably possible that we could decide to end production of the 747".

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