The dust has settled a bit and Boeing has released a statement connected with the recent Air Force One (AFO) commotion.
Let’s quote it as it’s not very long:
“We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States. We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
President elect tweeted that he likes a situation when Boeing earns money but not that much money. Then the news broke that the program will cost 4 billion dollars. It was neglected or confirmed based on the camp the reporting person was from. Than the media outlets started to dig here and there and found documents confirming the 4 billion dollar price.
But why dig in Pentagon papers when everything is written in the Boeing statement?
Let’s have a look:
Boeing press team wrote that they are in a contract worth 170 million. Which is a lot less than 4 billion. But the interesting part comes later. The 170 million is to “help determine the capabilities” which means that there is a team within the government/army/Pentagon/USAF which sits at the drawing board and thinks about the new AFO. That group of people got some assistance form Boeing for the 170 million. This is normal because the producer knows it’s aircraft and the user knows what he wants to use. Together they can prepare a road map and the best possible solution. But… if we look how much costs just the “help” part we can easily multiply this because this is just “help”, not real tests, research, development etc. Of course the AFO wouldn’t be a brand new aircraft and would be based on proven concepts but let’s remember the Marine One failure.
I can not tell if 170 million is much or 4 billion is much if we want to prepare a project like AFO. I can only say that the numbers add up and 4 billion might be not enough.
Photo: CPL Roman Gray, USMC