The red, white, and blue paint scheme selected by former President Donald Trump for the next Air Force One has not been finalized, a top Air Force general said Tuesday.
A final decision about the color will be made closer to when the planes enter service, which is now even later than planned due to supply chain issues, according to Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Air Force military deputy for acquisition.
“At some point, when the build proceeds to where it needs to be, Boeing will come to the government and ask for a final decision on the paint,” Richarson said during a press conference at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space, and Cyber conference. “Then when that happens, we’ll work that.”
For several years, the Air Force has used a concept image of the plane with the red, white, and blue livery chosen by Trump in the service’s official budget request. The Biden administration’s fiscal 2022 budget request also used the picture. But Richardson said “don’t read anything into” that.
“It’s a cartoon—it’s not a real airplane,” he said. “It’s just something that’s on a paper.”
Meanwhile, the Air Force says it’s still evaluating how late Boeing will deliver the two planes.
Boeing has told the Air Force that problems with one of the planemaker’s subcontractors and COVID-19-related supply chain issues would delay the project one year, said Darlene Costello, the acting Air Force acquisition executive.
“We are in the midst of completing our schedule risk assessment of that,” Costello said.
The schedule should be finalized by year’s end, she said. It’s also unclear when the first plane will fly.
“We’re not ready to report out when we think that first flight would be,” Richardson said.
Boeing is modifying two 747-8 airliners into flying White Houses at a factory in San Antonio, Texas, but has been locked in a legal battle with GDC Technics, a Texas-based company that was supposed to install the highly bespoke interiors on the two planes. However, Costello said, Boeing has found a new supplier for the work.
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