Source: Arabic.Net- Jamal Nazi
The program to build two new US Air Force One planes is facing its first cost overrun due to the Corona pandemic, Boeing announced.
According to a report published by the American magazine Popular Mechanics, only two months ago, Boeing began work on a project to convert two commercial 747-8I planes into two presidential planes that would be dedicated to the transportation of the US President and dignitaries in his administration around the world until 2050.
Corona pandemic effects
The company also indicated that it incurred an additional $ 168 million because of what it called “deficiencies in engineering teams” resulting from the Corona pandemic.
Boeing, whose aircraft manufacturing facilities are located in Washington state, was hit hard by the epidemic, with PCR test results positive for 212 employees, and one of its employees died from Covid-19 infection.
The strike forced the company to take an unprecedented step in its history, as commercial aircraft was completely shut down for 14 days, starting March 25. It was not clear to what extent the impact of Boeing’s decision on the project to develop the two new presidential planes, which is being implemented under the umbrella of a military program, is under way.
Equipment that mimics the future
The 747-8I, which will be identified as VC-25B, is to replace the oldest VC-25A that entered service in 1990. According to what the US Air Force previously mentioned, the two planes will undergo development and improvements that include “electrical power and critical communications systems” And medical equipment, “as well as the luxury of a passenger compartment and fortifications against missiles and nuclear bombs.
Flying presidential residence
While the American presidential planes were designed to achieve as self-sufficiency as possible, as a reflection of its role in the Cold War, as it can be used as a flying headquarters for the American President during any nuclear war, during which presidential planes are expected to fly for long hours and move from one airport to another and to any remote region in United State. Therefore, it is considered that when designing presidential aircraft modifications, you do not need any ground facilities.
Counter to various types of missiles
Self-protection of the current version VC-25A is provided by advanced anti-surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles devices, which are equipped with an AN / AAR-54 (V) receiver that issues an alarm when launching missiles against it, in addition to the AN / AAQ- system 24 Nemesis Directional Infrared Redmeasures (DIRCM) that emits pulses of infrared light to jam the infrared guided missiles, in addition to the basic equipment that can jam the radar guided missiles.
Immunity against electromagnetic pulse
US Presidential planes are also immunized against the effects of electromagnetic pulse EMP, a phenomenon that can occur as a result of the stray voltage caused by a nuclear explosion that causes a malfunction in nearby electronics that may cause it to stop functioning altogether.
Although the U.S. Air Force or Boeing have not disclosed the innovative updates included in the new VC-25B, experts expect that it will be equipped with more defensive capabilities and capabilities and everything that supports their operation with total independence and complete self-sufficiency.
Specifications for $ 5.3 billion
According to the American Defense News, the total cost of the VC-25B program is expected to be $ 5.3 billion. The two planes were due to enter service in 2024, but it appears that some delay to the VC-25B program will be caused by the Corona pandemic.