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03 August 2017, 01:08 | Melanie Burgess
US near purchase of 747s once set for Russia to cut Air Force One costs
It is not known what the Air Force would pay for the 747-8s, but a new 747 typically goes for around $380 million, depending on options and the number of aircraft purchased.
As president-elect in December, Trump called for cancelling the recapitalization program, saying in a tweet that its cost was "out of control".
The U.S. Air Force reportedly is in talks to buy two 747-8 jetliners that were originally bound for Russia's now defunct Transaero Airlines.
Although the US Air Force (USAF) has chose to go ahead with its plans of buying two new aircraft to replace the current presidential transport, it still found a way to cut the cost of the $386.8 million price tag for each of the two 747s.
Subscribe to the Defense One daily. The Air Force could pick up the two Transaero 747-8s for a good bit cheaper, however, considering they were previously purchased and now reside in the boneyard where Boeing is paying to store them. The order had been placed in 2013, with down payment, but the planes were never delivered for lack of follow-up payments.
"This deal is focused on providing a great value for the Air Force and the best price for the taxpayer", a Boeing spokesman said.
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Aeroflot absorbed most of Transaeros fleet following the bankruptcy but declined to accept Transaeros 747-8 orders. News of the negotiations was reported earlier by the trade publication Defense One; it was confirmed Tuesday by the Air Force. The Pentagon's 2018 budget request pegged two new Air Force One jets at $3.2 billion between 2018 and 2022. Last year, the planes were parked for long-term storage in Victorville, Calif., where the dry climate of California's Mojave Desert preserves mothballed jets from corrosion.
As per Defense One, if the Air Force buys the planes, contractors will have to provide them with a state-of-the-art communications system, defensive countermeasures, and hardening to withstand an electromagnetic pulse caused by a nuclear explosion. Still, once the Air Force purchases the jets, according to Popular Mechanics, it will be years before the planes are ready for use.
It seems that the U.S. Air Force allegedly found a solution to this problem, according to Defence One, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the issue. Although the planes themselves are not what gives Air Force One such a hefty price tag.
The current planes are 747-200s, which have been in service for nearly 30 years.
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