One of the most recognizable icons of the presidency may get a revamp. The Pentagon plans to develop and a new Air Force One aircraft for deployment after 2020, Bloomberg reports.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition Frank Kendall authorized the Air Force to establish an office for the replacement program. The Pentagon has budgeted $757 million through 2017 for the first phase of the new Air Force One development and $1.84 billion for a Marine One helicopter replacement through 2017.
Aerospace companies will be watching the space closely. The Air Force expects to release a request for proposals for the airplane in 2015 with the potential for a development contract award in 2016, according to the report. The service anticipates releasing an RFP for the helicopter in fiscal 2013 and possible development contract in 2014. The number of helicopters to be purchased hasn’t been determined yet, the report said.
The new line-up is being planned, in part because the VC-25A Boeing 747-200B aircraft that serve as Air Force One are nearing the end of their 30-year service lives. The helicopters that shuttle the President are 35-year-old models.
A new presidential helicopter wouldn’t be declared operational until 2020, and the new Air Force One aircraft wouldn’t be ready until 2023, according to the report.