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The world's most famous aircraft, an 800,000-pound flying fortress that extends the power of the White House into the skies, just got a step closer to the assembly line.
The current U.S. Air Force planes (VC-25A), which are highly modified Boeing 747-200 series aircraft, have served the presidency since 1990 as "airborne Oval Offices" and are quickly reaching the end of their lifespan.
"The Boeing 747-200 ceased production in 1987 and is no longer operated in the U.S. commercial passenger-carrying industry. The Air Force is the only remaining domestic operator," according to a U.S. Air Force statement.
What's more, the replacement parts for the current Air Force One jets are diminishing and therefore becoming an "ever-increasing problem that will continue to worsen."
"Obtaining and delivering two Presidential mission-ready 747-8s (VC-25B) is an important step to ensure enduring and global transportation for the President of the United States."
Under the Air Force's Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, the three-leveled leviathans will undergo modifications in 2019 and replace the current aging planes by 2024.
While the specific security details of the next presidential fleet are shrouded in secrecy, the U.S. Air Force says the modifications to the VC-25B will be similar to the current VC-25A capabilities, albeit with significant upgrades to navigation and communication platforms.
Here are a few features of the undisputed queen of the skies.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the weight of Air Force One. The plane weighs 800,000 pounds.