Trump’s Air Force One plane has a paint problem (among many other problems)

Trump had criticized the plane’s current color scheme, which has changed little since the Kennedy administration, particularly the light blue stripe that runs the length of the plane. Instead, Trump wanted a red, white and dark blue palette that more closely matches the colors of the American flag.

But it turns out that the darker blue – which some observers say is similar to the color scheme of one of Trump’s personal jets – poses challenges to the military aircraft’s sophisticated electronic system that ensures the president can stay in secure communication with officials on the ground – even in the event of a nuclear attack.

“The paint scheme in question was one of several possible livery colors offered,” an Air Force spokesperson told CNN Thursday. “Further analysis concluded that darker colors, among other factors, on the underside of the VC-25B aircraft could contribute to temperatures exceeding current qualification limits for a small number of components.”

Painting is usually part of the final stages of completion before an aircraft is delivered, so new jets are unlikely to need repainting. The Air Force has not disclosed when there will be a decision on which colors to use, or what options are being considered.

The Air Force also did not say how the problem was discovered. The General Accountability Office said in a report released Wednesday that the planes are undergoing a comprehensive series of tests as part of the multi-year process to upgrade two standard 747s for use by the president and other national security officials.

The new Air Force Ones – which are designated VC-25B unless the president is on board – are already long overdue and over budget, causing Boeing (BA) to take a charge of $660 million in its latest quarterly financial report. That’s on top of a $318 million charge the company took in 2021, attributed to the two 747s being modified in Texas.

Boeing previously revealed it was struggling to find enough workers with sufficient security clearance to work on high-tech military planes, especially when Covid cases caused staff shortages.

The airline’s builder also had a dispute with a contractor who worked inside the new jets. This contractor was replaced, further delaying progress. In a call with analysts in April, Boeing CEO David Calhoun said the $3.9 billion contract Boeing signed to build the planes was a mistake for the company, given the losses that Boeing signed. she is currently undergoing. He said the 2018 deal with the Air Force included “a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken.”

Further delays could push deliveries of new planes to 2026, according to Boeing and Wednesday’s GAO report. That’s past the scheduled retirement date of the two jet planes built by Boeing in 1990 and currently used as Air Force One, which was due to be replaced by 2025.

– CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report


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