Boeing Contracted to Support Air Force One VC-25sJan 31, 2012 14:40 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
The USA’s fleet of 2 “VC-25″ 747-200 derivatives is unique in several respects. It’s more popularly known as the latest incarnation of the “Air Force One” fleet that transports the President of the United States around the world, though the planes themselves only acquire the “Air Force One” call sign when the President is on board. The VC-25 can also serve as a secondary command post, thanks to a suite of advanced communications and electronics gear that’s both highly encrypted, and protected from the Electro-Magnetic Pulse effects of nuclear detonations. The 89th Airlift Wing operates them from Andrews AFB, MD.
During the Cold War, if humanity’s time on earth had been cut short, at least one of the orders would almost certainly have come from a 707-based “VC-137″ predecessor. The 747-based VC-25s were ordered in 1985, and added to the fleet in 1990, where they continue to serve in the same roles, flying an average of nearly 200,000 miles per year. Of course, maintenance and upgrades are still required, such as the 2002/2003 upgrades that let the President address the nation from on board, new defensive systems, etc…
Contracts & Key Events, 2010 – Present
The 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, MD flies the VC-25s. Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are issued by the 727th ACSG/PKB at Tinker Air Force Base, OK to Boeing in Wichita, KS.
Jan 4/12: Wichita lineman, farewell. Boeing confirmed it’s going to close its Wichita, KS plant by the end of 2013. Some of the 2,160+ Wichita jobs will be moved; others will be cut, beginning in Q3 2012. Future aircraft maintenance, modification and support work will be placed at the Boeing facility in San Antonio, TX, which currently handles KC-135 and KC-10 maintenance and upgrade work. Boeing | NY Times | Congressman Mike Pompeo [R-KS-4, not happy].
Sept 30/11: L-3 Communications Corp., Link Simulation & Training of Arlington, TX receives an $8.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the for the option III, IV, and V periods in support of the C-20B (Learjet III) and VC-25A Mission Communication System (MCS), which allows for ground and airborne, secure and non-secure communications between aircraft and ground stations.
Work will include program management, systems engineering, technical support for configuration management, review of service reports, requests for technical information, preliminary engineering investigations, field technical representatives, systems integration lab support and operation, and the requirement to maintain drawings and technical data files. This contract also provides for a 24-hour contact for in-flight emergencies, emergency inquiries, on-site support and operation of the test benches located at Andrews AFB including requests for software, firmware, and hardware changes including development and test, engineering feasibility studies, analysis and investigations of Material Deficiency Reports and mishaps; and requirements for technical orders, preliminary engineering change proposals, modifications, upgrades and enhancements including design, testing, integration, kit purchases and spares. The OC-ALCIGKSKB at Tinker AFB, OK manages this contract (FA8106-08-C-0005, PO 0065).
Jan 31/11: A $134 million contract modification for the heavy maintenance for 2011 VC-25 aircraft 9000 at Andrews AFB, MD. At this time, $86.8 million has been committed (FA8106-09-C-0005, P00023). This announcement has a different modification number, but looked like it could be a duplicate or revision of the Nov 30/10 award. On Feb 23/11, the USAF got back to DID with a clarification:
“We checked this question with the contracting folks — These are two modifications to the base-line contract. Each happen to be valued $134M. When combined, these two modifications are valued at $268M.”
That is slightly more than one would pay for a new 747.
Jan 25/11: A $13.2 million contract modification to provide Option Year II support for 1 of 2 VC-25 special air mission aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, MD. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8106-09-C-0005; PO0022).
Nov 30/10: A $134 million contract modification, covering the 2011 heavy maintenance effort scheduled for VC-25 tail number 92-9000. At this time, $19.4 million has been committed (FA8106-09-C-0005; P00020).
Oct 29/10: A $35.6 million contract to provide “heavy maintenance for the 2011 VC-25 aircraft 9000,” with all funds committed (FA8106-09-C-0005; P00019).
Jan 28/10: A $35.4 million contract to continue providing contractor support for the USAF’s fleet of 2 VC-25A aircraft. At this time, $8.2 million has been committed (FA8106-09-C-0005; P00005).
May 27/09: Well, that didn’t go as planned. The White House wanted an updated picture of a VC-25, with New York in the background. They told some local officials – but not the mayor, or the citizens. Who saw a jumbo jet flying low with fighter jets behind it, and thought it was another 9/11 style terrorist attack. NBC New York:
“A Pentagon official confirmed that while the Presidential Airlift Group, which is based out of Andrews Air Force Base, did inform the FAA and New York City officials about this morning’s aerial photo op, they also told both agencies not to inform the public about it.The NYPD confirmed that statement.”
Louis Caldera, Director of the White House Military Office, ends up losing his job over the flyby. Cost for the photo shoot? $328,835. See also CNN Politics.
- Fox News (March 24/10) – Pentagon Develops Plan to Buy New Air Force One Fleet
- DID (Oct 21/07) – USAF Talking to Airbus About A380 Air Force 1, C-5 Replacement? Airbus bowed out, leaving Boeing to decide between its 747-8 and 787 as a future bid.