By: Bryan Crabtree
With a single Tweet, Donald Trump brought attention to the Pentagon’s ‘$2000 toilet’ in the sky. This time the price tag to the Pentagon appears to be north of $4 billion for a Boeing contract to build two new 747-800 airplanes for future presidents.
This project is nothing more than a disguise by the Obama administration to fund an experiment into a super-expensive, clean-energy airplane (for which there is no market).
The experts tell us that a new plane is needed for the safety and security of the president. They’re likely accurate because the current duo of 747-200’s serving as Air Force One are approaching 30 years old. These planes already include enhanced wiring and technology to resist a nuclear attack in the form of electromagnetic pulses. Air Force One already has heat-seeking missile countermeasures in the event of an attack.
But many experts add that the new version of Air Force One should be enhanced to fly during a nuclear war. Frankly, I want my president in a bunker in the event of a nuclear war and not flying in a plane. In this nearly unimaginable circumstance where the president is trapped abroad and needs to return to the United States, wouldn’t it be more likely that a fleet of fighter jets would accompany the plane for its journey? Or, why not simply convert military planes better suited for wartime to transport the president? After all, any plane a sitting president uses is called “Air Force One.”
Air Force One is a luxurious transport vehicle for the most powerful person in the world. It includes 4,000 square feet of working and living space along with the accompaniment of coach seats for media and guests. It presently has the capacity to allow the president to address the nation live from its Oval Office and to conduct communications to virtually anyone, anywhere in the world.
The real issue with the current fleet is that they are approaching the end of their useful life. Most commercial airplanes will reach the end of their life much more quickly than the plane(s) serving as Air Force One. The lifespan of an airplane is determined less in miles and years and more by the number of times it has been pressurized and depressurized in takeoff and landing. It’s the latter that creates the stress on the airplane body creating fatigue or potential fractures in the structure.
The current aircraft have a few more years remaining before it’s imperative they be replaced.
Many experts have challenged Trump’s $4 billion cost assertion given that the current contract with Boeing presently stands at $170 million. The Pentagon has admitted numbers will rise close to $3 billion as the project continues.
We all know that government-projected costs never fall below budget.
The project with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky Aircraft to replace the fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters was estimated to cost $6.1 billion when completed. By 2008, the project costs were approaching $12 billion and it was terminated by President Obama in 2009.
I find it laughable that so many people in the mainstream media challenge Trump’s 4 billion dollar number questioning the source. The source is ‘common sense.’
This project is most quoted (and noted) for its attention to the fuel efficiency of the new Air Force One fleet. It is rare to find an official touting it as nuclear ready for future presidents. It doesn’t make sense to spend three dollars to save a dollar on fuel for the sake of the environment.
If you combine these findings with the general actions of the Obama administration over the last eight years, you can clearly conclude that the driving costs behind this research and development of a new fleet of Air Force One planes are massive expenditures in the green energy exploration and not likely its nuclear defenses.
Their intention is to use our taxpayer dollars to fund Boeing research in an attempt to create a plane that burns much less fuel and is likely to be extremely expensive to manufacture.
The end-goal is to enforce aviation manufacturers to scrap their existing engineering, retool their factories and operate under a mandate to produce this new ‘green energy’ technology (hardly a stretch given the EPA and Obama record of the past). Without this endeavor, the airline industry is unlikely to invest such a large amount on research – which will lead to a result that will be cost prohibitive to produce.
President-elect Trump should scrap this project and instead ask the Pentagon to order two new Boeing 747-800 airplanes that have upgrades to their defense capabilities and improved communication technologies. If a president is threatened while traveling in these new Air Force One planes, I’m sure the results of the $400 billion F-35 fighter jet program can come to the rescue.
A Boeing 747-800 costs $350-$400 million. Since two of them fly at all times with the president we can use the $3.2 billion in savings to pay down the federal debt. We should also sell the current planes to recoup some costs (classified technology not included).
After this, President Trump will only need to find 32,000 more projects (at $3.2 billion in savings each) to eliminate the debt that President Obama created in eight years.
The magnitude of the foregoing fact disgusts me.