Let’s take a look at the past, present, and also future that the airborne White House.

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by rob Verger | released Jan 19, 2021 4:00 afternoon

An Air force VC-25A law a touch-and-go practice maneuver in 2013 in new Jersey. Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht / U.S. Air nationwide Guard

This post was very first published in February, 2019. It has actually been updated since that time.

Sometime in 2024, if all goes follow to plan, the Biden management should obtain a sweet brand-new ride: the future variation of Air pressure One. The existing planes space Boeing 747s, and the next ones will certainly be too, back they will be a new model that is much longer and wider (measured through its wingspan) 보다 its predecessor.

Like the White House, Air force One is a symbol the is claimed to transcend any type of presidential administration. “It doesn’t stand for an separation, personal, instance president,” says Todd Harrison, the manager of the Aerospace Security project at the center for Strategic and also International Studies. “It to represent the presidency and the U.S. Government.”

Here’s what we know around the following version that Air force One, i m sorry the Air force calls the VC-25B, and the background of presidential aircraft leading approximately the current day.

There used to it is in tail feathers

Presidents haven’t always flown in a Boeing 747. Kenneth Walsh, writer of Air pressure One: A background of Presidents and also Their Planes, points out that chairman Truman wanted a distinctive architecture for his two-prop aircraft, the Independence. “It to be painted come look choose an eagle,” Walsh says. That notes that it even had “tail feathers.”

The Independence. Ken LaRock / U.S. Waiting Force

Later, chairman Eisenhower had a four-engine jet, a Boeing 707, i beg your pardon had, Walsh says, a “military style.”

From 1959 come 1962, the presidential plane was a Boeing 707 without the blue and also white repaint job. Boeing

It wasn’t until the Kennedy administration that the 707 obtained a blue and white paint job comparable to what the present craft has. That’s likewise when the term “Air pressure One” was born.

“They want a password name because that air traffic manage that would never ever be confused with one more plane, and Air pressure One appeared to have actually a specific majesty come it,” Walsh says. That password name, that course, likewise became the general public term.

Kennedy make it into “a presidential plane,” Walsh says. Four-engine 707 jets offered as Air pressure Ones indigenous 1959 come 1990.

Air force One to be still a Boeing 707 from 1962 to 1990, yet gained a much more presidential look. Boeing

Surviving an electromagnetic pulse

The Air force One these days dates back to the George H.W. Shrub administration. He was the an initial president to paris in the exact same Boeing 747-200s that are still cruising today, recognized as VC-25A.

“The basic reason for updating castle is the the present fleet the planes room just obtaining old,” Harrison, the CSIS, says. Switching to more recent planes provides the evident benefits that come v a modern aircraft—more reliable engines and far better reliability—and is likewise a chance to install new defense and also communications equipment.

For example, throughout September 11, 2001, president George W. Shrub had trouble with the on-board interactions system, follow to Walsh, that is a contributing White House and also political analyst because that U.S. News and World Report, and also has traveled on Air force One part 300 times. “President bush was upset a couple of times since his phone call calls to be getting reduced off and also dropped,” Walsh says. “Now they’ve reportedly fixed that.”

One the the much more sensitive locations of #airforceone is the interactions area. Currently with 3 operators they manage all of the communications in and also out that the flying #WhiteHouse. I regulated recently to invest some time v these professionals in their herbal habitat. #aviation pic.twitter.com/7BmnCABLuG

— Scott Bateman MBE (
scottiebateman) January 13, 2021

Walsh additionally says that because 9/11 they do it much easier for the president to attend to the country from the airplane.

The current aircraft also has understandably secretive defense capabilities. “What we do understand is that Air pressure One has a skin on that designed come ward off electromagnetic pulses if there was a nuclear war,” states Walsh. That presumes the the following version would have actually a similar system.

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Walsh additionally says the current plane has the capacity to resolve a weapon choose a shoulder-mounted heat-seeking missile, which would certainly be a risk during takeoff or landing. “We know there are countermeasures,” Walsh says, which can “ward off” an strike like that.

“Beyond that, the army doesn’t like to talk about it,” Walsh says. “We every suspect, in the press corps, that there’s a lot more protective solution there, yet they’re maintained very, very secret.”

Since 1990, Air force One has been a Boeing 747-200, one aging fleet that two booked to be changed in 2024. Boeing

Planes ‘for all possible national contingencies’

For its part, the wait Force defined the new planes, which space 747-8is, in a statement:

“Though change specifics are not totally discussed due to operational security, meant updates include electrical power upgrades, a mission interaction system, a clinical facility, executive interior, a self-defense system and also self-sufficient ground operations. The VC-25B, i beg your pardon will function as one airborne White residence to permit the commander in Chief to execute constitutional responsibilities while in transit, will likewise use the highest possible level of command and also control military capabilities to keep national defense for all possible national contingencies or emergencies.”

A depiction of what the following Air pressure One can look like. Boeing

A Boeing spokesperson confirmed, in one email, the the “new aircraft space expected to start operations in 2024.”

As for the controversial brand-new red, white, and blue repaint scheme that President trumped wanted, which is a break from the Kennedy-era blue and also white? on Friday, January 22, the push secretary for the Biden administration, Jen Psaki, provided this upgrade at the 39-minute note of the briefing: “I can confirm for you here, the President has actually not spent a moment thinking around the color scheme the Air pressure One,” she said.

plunder Verger

plunder Verger is the technology Editor at well-known Science. That covers aviation, the military, transportation, security, and also other complicated tech topics. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School, he"s likewise written for The Boston Globe, Newsweek, The everyday Beast, CJR, vice News, and also other publications. Contact the writer here.