Fit the middle deck for passengers
and fill the top deck and cargo bay with all the counter-measures their little paranoid minds can come up with...
The US government has issued a "survey" in which it asks industry to offer proposals for a replacement Air Force One - the presidential plane. A modernised Boeing jumbo jet is by far the likeliest contender, but one should note that the planned new presidential helicopters will actually be European made - there is an outside …
The bulk of the need for size is the need to carry many of the amenities and necessities of the White House along for such a big trip. This includes a kitchen, conference room, bed, comm center, and even a clinic. Plus there's not just for the President but also everyone else on board...and there are quite a few people needed for an Air Force One trip: usually staff and security but also journalists and VIPs. I would also imagine another chunk of the size requirement falls to larger fuel tanks needed to be able to get anywhere around the world as required.
of the size of the traveling circus involved here. Often they have a second aircraft following with lower ranking press and hangers on on board. On airforce 1 there's the higher ranking press, plus the military support staff and comms equipment should the president decide to declare war on somebody, plus his political staff, plus any higher level politicos he might want to invite along. I'm pretty sure they could fill an A380 without trying too hard.
You do realise that when the President goes abroad, practically the whole mechanism of state goes with him? Various administration figures, often families, White House staff, cooks, Secret Service detail, Marines, Air Force (including the one with the "football" containing launch codes for the nukes) and loads of press also fly in the back of AF1.
Then there are the other aircraft that take the modified limousines, helicopters, armoured Chevvy Suburbans and heaven knows what else too?
So the "few staff" comment is way off, it's dozens if not hundreds of them.
Should they ever need a larger aircraft, there is always the Antonov 225. Discovery channel said that if it was set as a passenger plane, it would carry 1,000+ passengers with ease.
As a cargo plane, it carries 250 metric tons of stuff inside it, or 200 tons on the upper rack (where Buran used to hitch...). Not to mention it could land everywhere, including unpaved dirt and grass.
Too bad there are only two of these, and only one is airworthy.
Surely the Head of State of any country should buy locally and support their own industry? What would it say about the US if they picked a foreign aircraft? I would expect them to buy US goods, even if they were worse.
However, I would expect Airbus Industrie to point this out, and ask for some assurance that they were not wasting their time before responding. In fact, I think I would ask to be paid for providing my submission, since it is highly unlikly to be used for anything more than beating down Boeing's price....
Black Helicopters seem suitable for this conversation...
The problem is the gov't allowed everyone to merge until Boeing is the only game in town now, and Boeing knows it and hasn't been reluctant to take advantage. Boeing and Lockmart are the only two aircraft defense contractors left, and Lockmart does mainly fighters and not big jets.
The USAF is not pleased that they're bent over a barrel, which is why the tanker deal happened the way it is. I'm sure a lot of this RFP wording is "look bitches, we WILL look elsewhere if you try to stick us up again."
European-sourced aerial tankers, European-sourced Marine One, and now they're thinking of a European-sourced Air Force One? Why, exactly? Seems to me that the US Presidential and Armed Services should, I dunno, source their various mobile units from the US itself. It's not like we'd exactly be saving money, with at least a good portion of the money going to places outside the US. How can they justify sending even more money outside the US when the incoming administration is talking about creating jobs and stimulating the economy?
It was a bad idea to buy a foreign-sourced helicopter for Marine One, and it's and even worse idea to buy a foreign-sourced Air Force One. What kind of message does *that* say? "Here comes the President. Except he doesn't like flying in aircraft made in his own country. Yet somehow he wants to convince the world how great the US is"...
It has happened in the past - branches of the US do sometimes buy European, or even British designs ahead of indigenous, but for a project this big? I doubt it.
The Pentagon is determined to keep Boeing afloat no matter the cost. Just look at the dodgy deal they cut to 'lease' some extra 767 tankers a couple of years ago.
PS - If the Yanks read El Reg, they'd know that the Merlin is crap. I know this because Lewis keeps on telling us.
And what kind of message does it show to succumb to monopolies? Boeing is the only wide-body maker in North America right now--no one else comes close to possessing the capital and facilities to make something big enough. So you either gotta broaden your horizons, cave in, or just not go. Unfortunately, time's running out for the Air Force, meaning option #3 is out. So what leaves you with less egg on your face--farming out or supporting a monopoly?
Just because the US government failed to take action against a monopoly that it's own failed economic policies allowed, doesn't mean they should now cry foul and go with a non-US-sourced aircraft just to spite Boeing.
Besides, what's one monopoly to another? Sure, Airbus Industries may be a consortium, but besides Boeing and Airbus, who else is there? I really don't think the US would go with a Russian-sourced aircraft, considering our relations with them aren't exactly that great right now. That sort of makes the options: a) go with a US-sourced monopoly, b) go with a European-sourced monopoly. It seems given the current economic situation, it would be better to try and prop up the local economy before worrying about if that money will be supporting a monopoly or not.
With the way the US economy is tanking I guess all they will be able to afford is a Heuy and DC3 for the presidents personal birds.
Obviously the vice president doesn't fly with the president in AF1. So for the last 8 yrs, Bush could of used a 2 seater Cesna for flying in and left AF1 to be used by the real man in charge.
In the KC-X deal, the Airbus tankers were due to be assembled in Alabama, providing a significant number of jobs for American workers. Boeing's (frankly impressive) rearguard action convinced Congress that this was somehow unAmerican, and that the jobs should go to its factory in Washington state instead - all the while fighting a machinists strike!
So, yeah, an A380 built and fitted out in the US, with US (General Electric) engines, is not unthinkable. Most people couldn't tell the difference anyway and, arguably, the important part is the blue and white colour scheme and the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" on the side.
I disagree that the 747-8 is the likely choice... it's huge, but it's still the legacy 747 platform. More likely would be a 787 and a reduction in the number of auxiliary and ancillary staff - if they're needed, a second plane can carry them. Until Reagan, Air Force One was a 707 derivative - about half the length and wingspan of the current one.
(Of course, the best option would be to buy/appropriate the design authority and IPR for Concorde and start up a US production line. Doesn't matter that it's foreign: how many other presidential jets can supercruise?)
If they are going to outsource air force one can we outsource the next president? With the way this country is going some random guy in his parents basement in a dirty t-shirt can run the country or at least the federal reserve better then the skull and bones we have in power.
Gary's right. Boeing and Airbus are the last of the giants. But industry is treading towards Smaller/Faster/More Efficient jets, Such as Bombardiers or Gulf Streams. So its really a no-brainer for Boeing. If Bombardier WANTED to bid, they might have a chance, but with no proven jumbo, its unlikely. They DO have until 2017 to figure it out though, And I think it would be fun watch another contender get into this game. There is just no money in jumbos right now, or probably ever again. (Unless its transport).
"Of course, the best option would be to buy/appropriate the design authority and IPR for Concorde"
BA wouldn't sell Richard Branson a Concorde, so letting the IPR go is a no-no. Besides, Concorde was quite small !
Chance it will go to a European company = 1 / infinity
Boeing "own" enough congressmen - that's why the Airbus deal for refelling jets is stalled. Obama is protectionist, it'll never ever happen.
I simply adore the number of US commenters who think the Airbus/Boeing decision rest with the President. Wake up - Obama won't get a say in it - this will be decided by the Air Force and the Secret Service. (and very likely congress... don't they just love to stick their noses into everything, especially when they have no clue).
Well... they *might* let him pick the decor...
No shit, Sherlock! It takes a lot of fuel to move a big aircraft. Now look at the fuel burned per passenger / freight kilo mile and compare it to, say, a 747. This is why, with fuel economy as pretty much the top driver in airline purchasing decisions in the current economic climate, the 380 has a fat order book.
If it was in any way uneconomic on fuel, Airbus wouldn't be able to give the sodding things away.
IIRC, the A380 can not land in all international airports, as it requires wider runways than previous passenger planes to accommodate its wider wingspan. So choosing this plane would limit the places the president can visit in AF1.
Also, I can't see why all his staff needs to be in the same airplane as him. They can communicate wirelessly if they need to talk, and having a fleet of N identical planes where the president can be on either one would improve security. And it would allow adjusting the size of the fleet depending on needs. Having a single colossal plane that would often be half-empty seems wasteful.
Better yet, let him show his dedication to the environment and fly a Zeppeliner. :-)
Is a VH71 Kestrel Manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It is a variant of the European designed EH101 aka AW101 aka Merlin, but is made over there... so not overseas jobs money or parts etc..
The 380 is unlikely to be made on us soil has no US jobs and is unlikly to have US parts available. so is unliklly to be a contender.
My money is on a larger fleet of dreamliners (787's)...
There are a few problems....
As Torben pointed out, there are airport concerns with the aircraft. The A380 is so large that it's currently fairly limited in the number of airports it can arrive and depart from, though many airports are in the process of upgrading. However, the same way that the plane is designed to stay up indefinitely if need be, it needs to be able to come down as quickly and if the nearest airport can't support that, it'll be a bad security choice, effectively knocking it off the table.
The second problem would be with fueling. While Airbus could reconfigure the fill (or add an extra) to allow for in flight refueling, there aren't a lot of planes that can carry the weight of the fuel that a A380 would require. It's the Hummer of the skys.
Finally, in the current economy, it would be political suicide for the Congress to allow the deal to go overseas, particularly when the daily drum beat revolves around stimulating the domestic manufacturing chain.
While it's remotely possible, and I think the A380 is a pretty cool piece of kit, I don't think it's very likely.
"IIRC, the A380 can not land in all international airports, as it requires wider runways than previous passenger planes to accommodate its wider wingspan. So choosing this plane would limit the places the president can visit in AF1."
"As Torben pointed out, there are airport concerns with the aircraft. The A380 is so large that it's currently fairly limited in the number of airports it can arrive and depart from, though many airports are in the process of upgrading."
The A380 can land at any airport and use any runway or taxiway that a 747 can.This was a design specification.
The reported problems are not to do with the runways. They are to do with the terminal buildings being able to handle large numbers of passengers at once, and the need to have double-decker walkways to disembark.
A presidential jet would NOT be disembarked through a terminal. They are usually parked in a secured area of the airport, and steps are used for disembarkation. So, no problem...
Out of curiosity, why does Lewis say the 747-8 is the only Boeing option? What about, say, a 777ER or 777LR? A quick glance at Boeing's site suggests that they're close to the size of the 747-8. (The ER is a bit larger than the LR.) I'm not an airplane afficionado, so I don't know if they'd be unsuitable for some other reason.
The KC-X deal which would have outfitted the Air Force with the A330 as a tanker platform instead of the 767 was a step in the right direction. For all too long the US government has been supporting US manufacturers that produce inferior products at higher prices on the premise that it "creates jobs" (codewords for "repays campaign contributions"). Sure it might support the ludicrous system that allows college drop-outs to make $30/hr. to turn a screw or push a button, but in the end it's the tax payer that gets shafted.
I think its WONDERFUL that the US Government is finally growing the balls to hold competitive bids. If the US continues to procure second-rate equipment at mint from US corporations at ming, what message is that sending the industry? They're encouraging inefficiency. We need a couple big deals like this one and the KC-X deal to show these corporations that in order to earn the tax payer's dollars they need to be COMPETITIVE.