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Singapore Airlines Airbus A380  (Source: Associated Press)

Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy  (Source: Air Mobility Command)

Air Force One
Boeing may have some competition when it comes to the replacement for Air Force One

Things are finally starting to look up for Airbus' troubled A380 superjumbo program. The first production A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines on Monday in Toulouse, France. The plane was then flown from France to Changi Airport in Singapore where it will await final preparations for its first scheduled flight on October 25.

The A380, however, is making an even bigger splash in the news world for a completely different reason. Flight Global reports that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) is looking at the A380 as a replacement for two aircraft programs: a replacement for the Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy and as a replacement for the Boeing 747-200B (VC-25A) used as Air Force One.

The C-5 Galaxy made its maiden flight on June 30, 1968 and first entered service in June of 1970. The USAF Air Mobility Command (AMC) requested information on the A380F freighter last year as a possible replacement for use as a heavy military airlifter.

Plans to upgrade the existing C-5 Galaxy fleet are estimated to run 50 to 100 percent over budget according to the USAF and Airbus' new A380F would make an ideal, modern and cost-efficient platform.

In addition, the USAF is looking at the A380 as a replacement for the current Air Force One which was introduced in 1990. Boeing isn't giving up the fight, however. The company is well aware of the competitive efforts involved in finding a replacement for the VC-25A and is offering up a 747-8 which uses new wings and engines for increased fuel efficiency.

Boeing has provided jet-powered transportation for the President dating back to the Boeing 707 first used by John F. Kennedy.

Airbus' A380 superjumbo has been the subject of more than a few articles on DailyTech. The A380 was delayed in September of last year due to wiring problems -- a month later; Airbus announced that deliveries of the aircraft would be delayed by an entire year.

In November 2006, FedEx dumped the A380 and instead decided to go with Boeing's 777. A few months later in March 2007, UPS announced that it too would cancel its orders for the A380F. The UPS cancellation meant that Airbus had lost its last A380F customer.

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By hlper on 10/19/2007 1:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
A) as the previous poster mentions Boeing is an U.S. company.


B) does Airforce One need to be any bigger when we are experiencing unending high fuel prices

RE: Dumb
By DesertCat on 10/19/2007 1:45:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree on the size issue. For the longest time Air Force 1 didn't have to be a huge plane, but only became that during the most recent iteration. It was never really clear to me as to why they needed such a big plane. Now they need a bigger one? Somehow it smacks of needing to have the biggest SUV on the block just for show.

Leave pointless pagentry to countries that have a monarch.

RE: Dumb
By Proteusza on 10/19/2007 1:59:55 PM , Rating: 5
There's a joke I heard about the size of modern aircraft, which I think can be reworked here.

The pilot an Airbus A380 tells his copilot that he is hearing a strange noise coming from the rear of the aircraft, and sends him to investigate.

The copilot hops on his motorbike, and two hours later returns to tell the captain that he found that someone had left a window open, and there was a Boeing 747 circling a light bulb.

RE: Dumb
By TomZ on 10/19/2007 1:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
does Airforce One need to be any bigger when we are experiencing unending high fuel prices

Do you seriously think fuel prices are a real consideration for Air Force One? It's probably #37 in the list of priorities I would guess.

RE: Dumb
By Ecmaster76 on 10/19/2007 3:45:02 PM , Rating: 1
Actually fuel efficiency can equate to increased range. That is definitely a top 10 priority.

RE: Dumb
By ikkeman on 10/19/2007 1:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
the 380 will be more feul efficient than the 747-200.

About the size issue:
Airforce one has always been the biggest availiable airplane (from boeing).

RE: Dumb
By AraH on 10/19/2007 2:54:56 PM , Rating: 3
i'm getting sick of this bull about fuel efficiency... the aircraft isn't more fuel efficient in and of itself (my understanding anyway) it's more efficient per passenger, or per kilogram/pound/whatever... a simple fact of the economies of scale.

oh yeah, and the 747-200 is a 30+ year old plane, of course the a380 will be more efficient... though it's not gonna make much of a difference compared to a 747-800

RE: Dumb
By ChristopherO on 10/19/2007 2:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
B.) Why are you under the impression it is large enough? Do you have any idea how many people fly with the President? There is a full security detail, the communications officers upstairs, various cabinet members, family, potential dignitaries, press, aides, analysts, etc. AF1 is fully intended to be a mobile White House. As such there is also dedicated office space and conference areas.

On top of that the plane needs space for many military grade devices that aren't present on consumer aircraft. Namely a full countermeasure suite (chaff, flares, etc), computer hardware out the wazoo, etc, etc.

I personally think a 747-8 would be a wonderful upgrade. An A380 could also be used, but alas that would be a politically inane decision. That this article exists indicates someone in the government should lose their job -- they are a moron and haven't a clue what sort of message it sends flying the President around in a foreign aircraft.

RE: Dumb
By SimonB on 10/19/2007 3:18:12 PM , Rating: 5
When it crashes, we want as much of the government on it as possible.

RE: Dumb
By Tsuwamono on 10/19/2007 7:15:40 PM , Rating: 1
agreed... too bad Honda doesnt make aircraft we could put them on.. that should do the trick..

RE: Dumb
By lumbergeek on 10/21/2007 10:41:25 PM , Rating: 2

Honda Aircraft. Admittedly too small for Air Farce Won, but still, Honda makes aircraft.

Oh, and for those who were talking about not trading with Cuba bein not supporting communism, explain how it is that we buy all sorts of CRAP from China?

RE: Dumb
By otispunkmeyer on 10/19/2007 6:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
i'd imagine the 380 is cheaper to run, its engines are pretty efficient and its aero work will be improved over the 747. to be honest its testament to how good the 747 really is... i mean how old is she now? and we're only just surpassing it

then again, theres no reason why they cant put those engines on the current 747 is there?

for me, its all going entirely the wrong way. airforce 1 is already too big, c'mon a whole 747 for one man?

its just gluttony and immense excess

still its better than the 60's throw back we have for our prime minister...that thing he fly's in chucks a load of black crap out the back!

RE: Dumb
By Tsuwamono on 10/19/2007 7:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
That thing looks worse then the small twin engine i took from Kingston Jamaica to my resort on the other side of the island.. glad it was like a 20 min ride..

RE: Dumb
By Justin Case on 10/19/2007 7:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
does Airforce One need to be any bigger

Are you kidding? Can you imagine how cool Bush would feel coming out of Airforce One... riding a horse? It would make the whole flyboy "Mission Accomplished" thing look almost gay.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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