The US Air Force on Friday unveiled a new colour scheme for Air Force One, discarding the palette chosen by Donald Trump for the presidential aircraft.
President Joe Biden is sticking with a classic blue-and-white colour scheme for the jets, which are under construction, retaining a design that dates to John F. Kennedy’s administration six decades ago.
Former president Trump, who left office in January 2021, wanted a bolder red, white and blue design, and kept a scale model bearing those colours on a coffee table in the Oval Office.
Trump’s design called for a deep red stripe down the middle of the aircraft and a dark blue underbelly.
The colours presented challenges to engineers, however, and a Friday statement from the secretary of the Air Force cited possible delays and tests to deal with “the added heat” from the darker shade of blue.
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The new Air Force One aircraft will instead closely resemble the aging current one, although the light blue will be a “more modern tone” than the existing robin’s egg blue, and there will be no polished metal on the fuselage “because modern commercial aircraft skin alloys don’t allow for it,” it said.
The replacement aircraft are projected to be delivered in 2027 and 2028, so the winner of the 2024 elections will be the first to take off in the new jets.
The Boeing aircraft are not like commercial airliners. Each includes high-tech communication facilities, a medical bay and a self-defense system.
The current Air Force One planes face rising maintenance costs and use parts that are increasingly obsolete, but will have to suffice until the newer aircraft are delivered, the statement said.