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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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RE: I really doubt this will happen
By weskurtz0081 on 10/19/2007 10:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, they probably just want Boeing to think that they have competition for better bang for the buck.

RE: I really doubt this will happen
By Gul Westfale on 10/20/2007 12:19:28 AM , Rating: 1
the US president always drives a lincoln or a cadillac, not an arguably better mercedes or BMW (although presidential limos are always custom built, so they are obviously better equipped and built than standard models for mere mortals).
it's simply a matter of showing some national pride, something required in politics.

of course, if the the A380 allows the government to use the extra space and/or range for some equipment they think is really vital then they might go with airbus... after playing up the fact that the plane uses some US-made components... :)

also, there are several air force ones, not just one. whatever plane the president currently flies with at that moment is referred to as air force one; in addition, several planes are outfitted to act as airborne command posts in a crisis. so the A380 should be used for very specific purposes only, but not for every day operations.

By weskurtz0081 on 10/20/2007 3:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
We were mainly talking about replacing the C-5. But for arguments sake, I think they are just exploring options and trying to put pressure on Boeing and Lockheed. In the end, any heavy the AF buys will probably be a Boeing.

By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/24/2007 8:42:29 AM , Rating: 2
Consider the Buy American Act which precludes the US government from purchasing foreign end products when there are domestic equivalents available, with some minor exceptions.

I think perhaps the USAF was doing a little reconaissance for Boeing.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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