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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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Air Force One
By Screwuhippie on 10/19/2007 2:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Its not about size ... its about versitility. If you bother to look into it ... the bigger the plane, the more fuels it carries and the longer distances it can cover as well as stay in flight. This sucker (Air Force 1) is a mobile national command center. Someone does something bad ... the President (aka the commander of the country) is airborn and un-touchable. This thing flies forever and has enough tech on it to last through a lot of stuff. So ... sure we could stick him in one of those regional jets but ...

And for you anti-bush folks. Take a peak (I don't have it handy nor do I have the time to find it for you) but ... if you want to take my word for it. The amount of airlift and cost of planes was astronomically higher under your previous fan-boy president ... heck with Hillary decided to go somewhere she mobilized most of the Air Force's C-5 inventory. Mr. Bush is a bit less of an ass an only travels when he needs to. Also ... you mock the whole "camp david" or "texas" bit but ... these guys NEVER get a day off ... he may be in Texas but believe me from dusk till dawn these guys are working.

So ... anyway ... Bigger is Better because its needed.

RE: Air Force One
By Ringold on 10/19/2007 2:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with everything in principle, but before we go and spend however many millions it costs to fully fit an A380 with all the specialized equipment needed for an Air Force One aircraft I'd hope that Congress steps forward and explains why tax payers need to open their wallets a little better than "we need more range".

While I think we're on the same page generally regarding the politics perhaps, I'd still see it as ironic that any future small-government conservative would want to pimp out a new many-million dollar flying palace. That said, I entirely understand, unlike some leftists that also complain about executive compensation more generally, why CEO's have and need expensive private jets. There's a clear cost-benefit anaylsis that can be made to justify such expenses; a CEO's time is money, and a less stressed CEO with more time and energy not otherwise drained means better quarterly results. I just would want a similar argument to be made for a new Air Force one as, presently, I'm not sure I see what's really wrong with the present one. 'Cause, gosh, if they don't want it.. I'll take it..

RE: Air Force One
By Connoisseur on 10/19/2007 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 2
Air Force Once has in-flight refueling which effectively gives it infinite range. Range benefits would NOT be the primary motivator for this plane. Fuel Efficiency, maybe; Ridiculous size, maybe... but not range.

Ringold: Expensing a private jet for BUSINESS is understandable. The reason lots of high powered exec's are getting flak nowadays is that they expense PERSONAL trips as well as other luxury items on their company tab... something which is completely unethical especially considering the ridiculous amounts of money they make. Furthermore, this has become an industry norm in many major companies. It's something that rightly irks stockholders.

RE: Air Force One
By System48 on 10/19/2007 2:49:39 PM , Rating: 1
So that's what he was doing when he was clearing brush, "working". When was this Hillary Clinton thing you talk about? And range? Maybe you should check your info before posting, the 747-800 has a fully loaded range of 8000nmi and the A380-800 has a design load (not sure if that even means fully loaded) range of 8200nmi. So yeah with that extra 200nmi they should definitely go the extra mile. Oh wait, that's right, if you knew what you were talking about you would know that Air force 1 has been modified for mid-air refueling, so that argument is pointless. And lastly Bush only travels when he needs to, like when he goes on vacation, or anywhere for that matter. That's alright though you're just a typical republican idiot that speaks without really knowing anything. So do us and yourself a favor and stfu.

RE: Air Force One
By mcnabney on 10/19/2007 4:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
If Bush was really working while on vacation in Texas in August of 2001 he might have read the report they gave him that documented how terrorists may be plotting to crash planes into American buildings.
Since it appears that he didn't read the report we can assume that he is just loafing on vacation.

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