Less Passenger Space than a DC-3
A group of defense consultants were tasked with recommending an updated Air Force One, the Presidential transport.
One proposal, to use a 737 is internally consistent, in that it leverages some of the engineering work done already on the P-8A Poseidon.
There is a logic behind the choice, though the airframe might be too small to accomodate the President, his staff, and the press corps.
The second proposal, to use the proposed B-21 next generation bomber, is flat out delusional.
This aircraft is supposed to be roughly the size of the B-2, and as this picture of its bomb bay shows, the internal volume is less than any other Presidential transport since Presidents first flew.
Seriously, what the F%$# were they smoking?
A panel of aerospace and defense analysts has proposed ditching the U.S. Air Force’s Boeing 747-8-based Air Force One in favor of the Northrop Grumman B-21 stealth bomber, or a less-costly militarized Boeing 737 fleet.
The group, writing for Wright Williams & Kelly (WWK), a cost management software and consulting company, says in a new report that President Donald Trump’s concerns about the massive cost of modifying two or three end-of-the-line 747-8 commercial airliners into military-grade presidential transports could be significantly reduced by recasting the requirements, which demand four engines and accommodations for an entourage of 70-plus passengers. By taking into account the safety and reliability of modern twin-engine aircraft, the Air Force would have a wide range of alternatives to study, instead of being limited to the Boeing 747-8 or Airbus A380.
Danny Lam, who contributed to the WWK report and is a spokesman on behalf of the group, says the report focused on the B-21 and 737. It does not rule out the Boeing 767, nor foreign airframes built by Airbus, Bombardier or Embraer. Russian and Chinese alternatives were not candidates.
The penny-wise option is a fleet of presidential 737s, since the type has already been adapted for military use at great expense. The 737-700-based C-40 already carries passengers for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. The 737 has also been converted into the P-8A Poseidon submarine hunter for the Navy, Australia, India, Norway and the UK. It is the basis for Australia, South Korea, and Turkey’s airborne early warning and control aircraft. Boeing has also pitched it as a replacement for the Air Force’s E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, EC-130H Compass Call and RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft.
Central to the B-21 proposal is safety. Lan says the proliferation of high-tech surface-to-air missiles to “non-state actors and guerrilla groups” is a significant threat to Air Force One, and a 747-8 is particularly vulnerable.
I would also note that they based their analysis on publicly available data on the B-2 Spirit, which, among other things, lacks a real bathroom, possessing only a chamber pot behind the seats.
This proposal is insanely stupid.