President of the United States Joe Biden has selected the livery design for the new VC-25B that will be delivered in 2027.
The U.S Air Force unveiled on March 10, 2023, the livery selected by the President of the United States Joe Biden for the new Air Force One. The decision marks a change of route for the paint of the aircraft, reversing the decision of former President Donald Trump in 2019 who selected a red, white and blue livery, and keeps the iconic design that made the VC-25A the most recognizable military aircraft in the world.
The new design closely resembles the livery of the current Air Force One, with a modern look for the 21st century. While accounting for the VC-25B’s larger 747-8i aircraft, the VC-25B livery has three primary differences with the VC-25A’s livery. The light blue on VC-25B is a slightly deeper, more modern tone than VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Additionally, the VC-25B engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area vice the VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Finally, there is no polished metal section on the VC-25B because modern commercial aircraft skin alloys don’t allow for it.
The press release from the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs provided some details on the reason why the red, white and blue livery was rejected, leading to the selection of another livery. In fact, after it was publicly expressed as a preferred livery in 2019, a thermal study concluded the dark blue in the design would require additional Federal Aviation Administration qualification testing for several commercial components due to the added heat in certain environments.
As we already reported, the 30-year old Boeing VC-25A aircraft are currently being replaced by a new VC-25B variant, based on the Boeing 747-8 aircraft, with projected deliveries in 2027 for the first aircraft and 2028 for the second aircraft, three years later than expected. In the meanwhile, the Air Force said it remains postured to keep VC-25A, which faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence, available and mission-ready until delivery of the VC-25B.
A formal contractual decision for a VC-25B livery was not required until this year for Boeing to conduct engineering, certification preparation, and supplier selection activities for the program. The aircraft will be uniquely modified to provide the POTUS, staff, and guests with safe and reliable air transportation with the equivalent level of communications capability and security available in the White House. Modifications to the aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities.