Air Force One Planes to Keep Current Look with Minor Alterations

March 13, 2023

The planes of Air Force One are set to get a new paint job, maintaining their current color scheme with just minor modifications, the Air Force said Friday.

The new paint jobs will closely resemble the current scheme of blue and white, which dates back to the Kennedy Administration. The current robin’s egg blue will be slightly “deeper,” according to the Air Force, and the engines will be a darker blue. 

A red, white and blue paint scheme (see here) had been proposed during the Trump Administration. However, the Biden Administration nixed it as it “could drive additional engineering, time and cost,” according to an unnamed White House official.

Further, the Air Force said the Trump Adminisration’s proposed darker colors might heat up the planes “to temperatures exceeding the current qualification limits of a small number of components.”

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich criticized the decision, saying, “it’s no surprise [Biden] wants to remove the beautiful red, white, and blue design for Air Force One.”

The contractual decision for an Air Force One paint job “was not required until this year,” the Air Force said.

Air Force One planes are Boeing 747-8s modified with military avionics, advanced communications and a self-defense system. They’re designed to be able to fly the President during worst-case scenarios, including nuclear war.

Last summer, the Air Force said Boeing was set to deliver the next-generation Air Force One 747s in 2026 and 2027, but this past Friday the Air Force delayed that, saying they’re now not projected for delivery until 2027 and 2028.

That’s three years behind Boeing’s initial schedule. The corporation has racked up $1.9 billion in losses on the $4.3 billion program so far, after the government paid Boeing $3.9 billion to build two Air Force One planes to be delivered by December 2024.

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