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Contract Awarded For Two New Presidential Aircraft

July 7, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Air Force on Monday awarded a $249.8 million contract to the Boeing Co. for two 747 airliners that will be used to transport the president.

The Air Force announced June 5 that the Seattle-based company had won a competition with the McDonnell Douglas Corp. to produce a new White House jetliner. A contract could not be negotiated and awarded, however, until final congressional approval was obtained.

That approval came three weeks ago when the House dropped its opposition to replacing the two aging Boeing 707 airliners now used by the president.

The Air Force said Monday in a brief announcement that it had signed a ″firm, fixed-price acquisition contract″ with Boeing totaling $249.8 million for ″two executive-configured Boeing-747 aircraft.″

That total does not include a logistics package of initial spare parts. The Air Force said it planned to award Boeing a separate logistics contract soon while stressing the total cost of the program would remain within the $280 million approved by Congress.

The service expects Boeing to deliver the first plane by November 1988 and the second in May 1989. If that schedule is met, the Air Force would have one of the 747′s on hand just before President Reagan leaves office in January 1989.

The Air Force has said the new planes will have state-of-the-art communications equipment, an emergency medical facility and special work and rest areas for the president, his staff, the Secret Service and the news media.

The term Air Force One is a radio call sign applied to any airplane that is carrying a president. Now, there are two modified Boeing 707′s maintained at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, either of which can be used for presidential trips.

While steeped in history, both planes are geting old and more difficult to maintain, according to the Air Force. The planes also are considered too small, do not have the range of more modern jets and violate federal engine noise regulations.

The first of the 707′s entered the presidential fleet Oct. 12, 1962, during the Kennedy administration. The second was accepted by the Air Force Aug. 4, 1972, and first used by President Nixon. Almost 14 years later, that second plane is still the primary presidential transport.

The new 747′s will configured to carry about 70 passengers and 23 crew members, compared with the 400 passengers that can be carried by the commercial version of the huge four-engine jet.

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