New Air Force One to take flight, Pentagon announces

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New Air Force One to take flight, Pentagon announces
U.S. President Barack Obama and his family arrive aboard Air Force One in transit to their annual summer vacation at Martha's Vineyard, via Cape Cod Coast Guard Air Station, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, U.S. August 6, 2016. Pictured are first lady Michelle Obama (bottom left) and daughters Sasha (top left) and Malia (top right). REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The first presidential jet "Air Force One", Airpark, The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA
U.S. President Barack Obama and his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett (L) watch first half action of the U.S. and Germany World Cup soccer match while aboard Air Force One on their way to Minnesota, June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS SPORT)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN: NOVEMBER 1 -- Aboard Air Force One President Barack Obama makes phone calls to Gov. Chris Christie and other officials after a campaign stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Thursday, November 1, 2012. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) waves as he and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One Presidential air transport a specially converted Boeing 747 called a VC-25A.
President Barack Obama jokes with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication, aboard Air Force One
President Barack Obama wears a AF1 jacket on his first flight aboard Air Force One from Andrews Air Force Base
The US embassy defence attache salutes as the Air Force One aircraft prepares to taxi with US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama on board at Palam Air Force station in the Indian capital New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One landing
Air Force One Presidential air transport flies over Mt Rushmore
US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One prior to departing Boise Airport in Boise, Idaho, January 21, 2015. Obama is traveling on a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks to greet wellwishers before boarding Air Force One for departure from Forbes Field Airport in Topeka, Kansas, January 22, 2015. Obama returns to Washington after traveling on a two-day, two state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama walks down the steps of Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, January 22, 2015. Obama returns from a 2-day, 2-state trip to Idaho and Kansas following his State of the Union address. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) and First Lady Michelle Obama board Air Force One prior to departing from Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on January 27, 2015. President Barack Obama said the United States could be India's 'best partner' January 27 as he wrapped up a three-day visit to New Delhi by highlighting the shared values of the world's biggest democracies. AFP PHOTO / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Air Force One with United States President Barack Obama aboard departs Joint Base Andrews Maryland, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
The interior of very first jet Air Force One, a Boeing 707, is seen at the The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, September 6, 2012. (Photo by John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images)
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By RYAN GORMAN

The Pentagon has picked the next Air Force One.

A fleet of Boeing 747-8 jets will serve as the next presidential aircraft, according to an Air Force statement. They will replace an aging collection of Boeing VC-25 airplanes.

"The presidential aircraft is one of the most visible symbols of the United States of America and the office of the president of the United States," Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement.

"The Boeing 747-8 is the only aircraft manufactured in the United States (that), when fully missionized, meets the necessary capabilities established to execute the presidential support mission, while reflecting the office of the president of the United States of America consistent with the national public interest."

The reason there will be multiple aircrafts is because no one plane is labeled Air Force One. The moniker is simply applied to any jet in which the president travels on at a given moment.

The decision came to down to either the Boeing aircraft or an Airbus A380, the Air Force explained.

Both aircraft were the only ones meeting strict specifications including four-engines and a wide body, among others.

The announcement did not come with a contract, those details are still being hammered out.

"This decision is not a contract award to procure 747-8 aircraft," said Col. Amy McCain, the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) program manager.

"We still need to finalize the overall acquisition strategy and conduct risk-reduction activities with Boeing to inform the engineering and manufacturing development contract negotiations that will define the capabilities and cost."

The Air Force wants to maintain strict control over the planning and manufacture processes to allow for multiple contracts to be awarded for the aircraft's subsystems to allow it to be cutting edge for decades to come.

"We are committed to incorporating competition for subsystems of the missionized aircraft as much as practicable, and will participate substantively in any competitions led by the prime contractor," said James.

"The current fleet of VC-25 presidential aircraft has performed exceptionally well, a testament to the Airmen who support, maintain and fly the aircraft," James said. "Yet, it is time to upgrade. Parts obsolescence, diminishing manufacturing sources and increased down times for maintenance are existing challenges that will increase until a new aircraft is fielded.

The two current VC-25s used as Air Force One first took off in 1987 during the Ronald Reagan administration but have undergone several modernizations and retrofits, according to the Air Force.

No timetable has been provided for when the latest edition of the presidential airplane will be finished.
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