Pentagon Confirms: New Air Force Ones Will be Built Largely in San Antonio

The Pentagon has confirmed that Boeing is building two new Air Force One planes, and you can expect to see them fly in and out of the old Kelly Air Force Base on San Antonio's West side, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"Work will be performed in San Antonio and is expected to be completed by December 2024," the Department of Defense revealed Thursday on its website.

The work will be done at Boeing's sprawling facility in the former Hangar 375 at Port San Antonio.

The cost to build the two planes is $3.9 billion, according to the website.

When then President-elect Donald Trump was on the campaign trail in 2016, he tweeted his opposition to the cost of new planes.

"Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" he tweeted at the time.

The work is described as "detailed design, modification, testing, certification, and fielding of two presidential, mission-ready 747-8 aircraft."

The current planes are nearly three decades old.

When the new ones roll down the runway on San Antonio's west side, they'll look completely different.  In an Interview with CBS this week, President Trump announced his desire for a new paint job.

"Red, white and blue," President Trump told the network. "Air Force One is going to be incredible. It's gonna be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it's gonna be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate."

The last time Air Force One got a new paint job was under President Kennedy.  It was the First Lady who chose the iconic blue color.

At SMU's Center for Presidential History, Director Jeff Engel says replacing the iconic look would be a radical shift

."Oh my God, yes. The plane is more than iconic.  It is a moving symbol of American power and legitimacy."

He's surprised that President Trump, who has made a living on savvy marketing, would tear down a design that's easily recognizable.

"You say 'Air Force One' in any country in the world and they can immediately picture what you're talking about," he explains.

The new aircraft are expected to be finished in 2024.


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