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Air Force One instruction manual to cost $84m

written by Sandy Milne | April 17, 2020

The US Air Force has inked a deal with Boeing for “VC-25B technical publications” – the instruction manual for the two military 747-200B jets collectively known as Air Force One.

The modification to the previous contract, already held by Boeing, has been priced at $84 million, and work is “expected to be complete by January 15, 2025”. This refers only to the instruction manuals, and not to the USAF’s broader overhaul of the Air Force One fleet.

The USAF announced on Wednesday that a total of $13,572,333 has been obligated at the time of award to research and development funding.

“This contract modification is to modify commercial manuals, update with VC-25B-specific information and deliver integrated manuals for the VC-25B system,” the contract announcement reads in part. “This includes manuals developed by both Boeing and their subcontractors.”

Air Force One takes off from a RAAF base in Brisbane, Australia. (Source: Australian Defence Force Image Gallery)

Operating the VC-25B can be a complex undertaking. According to the White House website, the craft’s capabilities include:

  • Mid-air refuelling capability;
  • Hardened onboard electronics, designed to withstand offensive electromagnetic pulses;
  • Advanced secure communications equipment, “allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States”;
  • 4,000 square feet (371 square metres) of floor space, spread across three levels; and
  • A medical suite that can function as an operating room.

The plane includes office space, a conference room, and two food preparation galleys that can serve up to 100 people at a time.

The technical publications contract comes as part of a US$3.9 billion project to build two new 747 aircraft to replace the older models at the end of 2024.


Defense Department budget documents released earlier this year showed a rendering of the new presidential plane, which will feature a white top half, blue bottom half, and a red stripe through the centre. The words “United States of America” will be emblazoned on the side, as is the case with the current version.


  • Stu Robertson


    I’ll be running this by Snopes. Seems a bit fantastic, in my opinion.

  • Federico


    I need the same spec in my plane… NOW!

  • AlanH


    Is it printed on gold leaf?

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