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 Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Air Force One is seen on the tarmac of the Sigonella Air Force Base in Sigonella, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), speaks briefly to reporters as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R), speaks briefly to reporters as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania wave as they board Air Force One to travel to Rome from Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel May 23, 2017. REUTERS/
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave outside Air Force One before returning to Washington D.C. at Sigonella Air Force Base in Sigonella, Sicily, Italy, May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The first presidential jet "Air Force One", Airpark, The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington, USA
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hold hands as they arrive to board Air Force One for travel to Rome from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media on board of Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews before departure to Lynchburg, in Prince George's County, outside Washington, U.S., May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Air Force One landing
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters en route with President Donald Trump to a NATO summit in Brussels aboard Air Force One May 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with reporters after departing Saudi Arabia en route to Israel with U.S. President Trump's delegation aboard Air Force One, May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and his son Barron board Air Force One to depart Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., on their way to Florida March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalist members of the travel pool accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump on board of the Air Force One during his trip to Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to journalists, members of the travel pool, on board of Air Force One during his trip to Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Air Force One Presidential air transport flies over Mt Rushmore
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)
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)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (L) holds his daily press briefing aboard Air Force One as it approaches Nashville, Tennessee, U.S. March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step from Air Force One as they arrive for a "Make America Great Again" rally at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Melbourne, Florida, U.S. February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway chats with repoters on board Air Force One as they wait for U.S. President Donald Trump to arrive for travel to Philadelphia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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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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