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The government is spending a lot of money to make Air Force Two look as sleek as Air Force One — for its passengers.
Boeing just got a contract for $16 million to renovate one of the jets typically used by the vice president to make it more like the president’s on the inside. “The C-32A interior requirements are for an appearance more commensurate with presidential section of the VC-25A,” the contract announcement on the Department of Defense’s site said. Translation: The airplane that flies Mike Pence, First Lady Melania Trump and occasionally the president himself must look more like Air Force One.
The twin-engine C-32As are militarized versions of the Boeing 757s in wide use by all three US legacy airlines. The VC-25As, aka Air Force One, are the famous presidential version of the Boeing 747.
C-32s typically fly the vice president — and when that happens, they use the call sign Air Force Two — first lady, and secretary of state; they are also used by the president at destinations where the runway is too short to accommodate the much larger VC-25A. The defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff occasionally use the C-32s as well.
The C-32 cabins feature interiors similar to that of commercial 757s, but with some key differentiators: The “first-class section” of each C-32 is outfitted with communications technology designed to help stay in contact with military commands. The next section features a couch that unfolds into a bed, as well as a table with seating on either side. Next, senior staffers have access to comfortable seats and conference tables, while traditional commercial-style seating accommodates crew and members of the press in the aft section of each plane, according to Defense One.
The $16 million being spent on spiffing up one of the C-32 comes on top of the $18 million spent last year to renovate another one. In total, that makes $34 million to refurbish two airplanes expected to be phased out soon — the Pentagon has already started the search for a replacement of the 25-year-old planes.
Air Force One is being replaced, too. The two VC-25As will be phased out in a few years, as soon as the two replacements are ready. The Pentagon is spending $3.9 billion to buy and bring up to military standard two Boeing 747-8s, the latest model of the Jumbo Jet. Last month, President Donald Trump formally announced plans to make Air Force One look more “American” with a red, white and blue color redesign.
Featured photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images.
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