US Military Plans To Build Supersonic Air Force One

The US Military Plans To Build Supersonic Air Force One

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The US military has taken the first steps to begin making prototypes of a supersonic aircraft that could one day carry presidents around the world in half the time.

Last month, the Presidential Directorate of Air Freight and Service Executive awarded a US $ 1 million small business innovation research (SBIR) Phase II contract to Exosonic, a new aerospace company, to begin the design and development of the low-boom executive airlift concept .\

The 24-month contract for the aircraft called “Air Force One” while the president was on board, requires the company to create specifications for the future aircraft, to include “strength, weight, dimensions, communications systems, cabin layout” and a virtual reality model of cabin space. aircraft, Air Force Materiel Command told Military.com on Tuesday (1/9).


The US military has taken the first steps to begin making prototypes of a supersonic aircraft that could one day carry presidents around the world in half the time.

Last month, the Presidential Directorate of Air Freight and Service Executive awarded a US $ 1 million small business innovation research (SBIR) Phase II contract to Exosonic, a new aerospace company, to begin the design and development of the low-boom executive airlift concept .

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The 24-month contract for the aircraft called “Air Force One” while the president was on board, requires the company to create specifications for the future aircraft, to include “strength, weight, dimensions, communications systems, cabin layout” and a virtual reality model of cabin space. aircraft, Air Force Materiel Command told Military.com on Tuesday (1/9).

About Air Force One, Aircraft Flown by the President of the US
US President Donald Trump and US first lady Melania Trump arrive by state plane Air Force One at Agra Air Base in Agra City, India, February 24, 2020 (Reuters / Al Drago)


“The low-boom allows passengers to fly at supersonic speeds without causing an explosive disturbance to those on the ground,” said AFMC spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Separately, Exosonic is building a 70-seat passenger aircraft intended to fly at Mach 1.8, “supersonically by land and sea with muted sonic booms,” according to the company’s website. A prototype launch for the project is expected in 2025, Mayer said.

The Presidential Directorate and Executive Airlift contract, sponsored by the Air Force Research Lab, “will support Exosonic’s efforts to develop and modify the company’s commercial supersonic aircraft to serve as executive transport vehicles,” the company said in its own release, quoted by Military.com .

“This modification will include reconfiguring the aircraft cabin to include necessary accommodation, communications equipment and security measures to enable US leaders and their guests to work and rest on board.”

The latest contract follows another awarded to Hermeus Corp., another Mach 5 commercial developing aircraft that travels at more than five times the speed of sound. The Georgia-based company successfully tested a Mach 5 prototype engine earlier this year, according to a company release.

Last month, the Air Force awarded Hermeus a US $ 1.5 million Other Transaction Authority (OTA) Phase II contract for the company to begin research on how it could modify its commercial prototype towards a military VIP fleet.

Meanwhile, replacements for Air Force One’s aging platform have not been delivered, or even completely modified.

In 2016, the Air Force awarded a contract to Boeing Co. to begin early work on the VC-25 Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, more commonly known as PAR. Earlier this year, the VC-25B program (a continuation of the current VC-25A) began modifying the first of two Boeing 747-8 aircraft.

The first phase of the aircraft modification involved “cutting large skins and structural areas in both the front and rear lobes of the fuselage, and then installing two of the newly produced superpanels,” according to a release from Materiel Command.

The superpanel contains structural enhancements “and cutouts for the VC-25B’s lower lobe doors, including internal air floors for mission requirements,” the release reads.

The two 747-8s were originally ordered for Russian airline company Transaero in 2013, DefenseOne reported in 2017. Boeing never delivered the jets to the now-defunct airline and instead kept them.

Boeing spent 2019 getting rid of the aircraft’s commercial interior, engines, auxiliary power units and “many secondary system components,” according to officials.

Additional upgrades to the aircraft include “increased power, mission communication systems, medical facilities, executive interiors, and autonomous ground operations capabilities,” according to Material Command.

The aircraft passed its critical design review in the spring, according to Defense News .

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