US Air Force unveils new color scheme for Air Force One

8 months ago 5

The plane's iconic Kennedy-era robin's egg blue and white design has remained virtually unchanged throughout the years.

WASHINGTON — Air Force One, the jet responsible for providing the president of the United States with air transport, is getting a makeover for its next fleet of aircrafts.

The U.S. Air Force unveiled the newest design for the "Next Air Force One" planes on Friday. The announcement of the new color scheme comes nearly a year after President Joe Biden scrapped former President Donald Trump's proposed red, white and blue design for the presidential aircraft. 

Formally known as the VC-25B, the new aircrafts are estimated to replace the older VC-25A planes. The new designs, chosen by President Joe Biden, don't stray far from the current Boeing 747-200 plane and won't add additional costs to the program.

With the idea of modernizing the iconic airplanes for the 21st century, the new designs will have a darker, more modern tone of the original plane's light blue color. Additionally, the engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area on the current Air Force One. 

Another change is that the next generation aircrafts won't have a polished metal section because modern commercial plane skin alloys don't allow it, the U.S. Air Force said.

According to Boeing history, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy picked new colors for the plane used by her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Since then, the plane's design has remained virtually unchanged.

The current generation of planes first carried President George H.W. Bush, who served from 1989-1993.

The VC-25A fleet faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs and parts obsolescence, according to the Air Force. In its new generation of aircrafts, there are plans to add electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, a self-defense system and other modifications.

In June 2022, the Biden administration nixed Trump's order to replace the iconic Kennedy-era robin's egg blue and white design with a deeper navy and a streak of dark red.

Trump's paint design was dropped after an Air Force review suggested it would raise costs and delay of the delivery of the new jets. 

Trump's design utilized the colors of the American flag. The top half of the plane would be white, while dark blue would cover the bottom half, including the belly. A bold red stripe would streak from cockpit to tail across the midsection — almost identical to the color scheme on Trump’s personal plane, except that the white and blue were reversed.

The first of the VC-25B is set to be delivered by 2027, with a second aircraft being finished by 2028. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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