Boeing's 747-8 will become the next generation Air Force One, with two of the highly modified jets due to fly around 2021.
The Pentagon confirmed the decision overnight, according to The Wall Street Journal, and will see the retirement of the US President's current Boeing 747-200 planes which have now clocked up 25 years' service from Presidents Bush the First to Obama.
The Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental is a stretched version of the classic Boeing 747-400, although the 747-8 has been far less popular among airlines than its smaller sibling.
The WSJ said that the Pentagon only evaluated four-engined jets, which left the Airbus A380 as Boeing's only competitor – and unsurprisingly, "Airbus executives have previously said they were unlikely to bid for the contract."
Fun facts about Air Force One
1. Air Force One isn’t a plane, it’s a callsign
We all know Air Force One as a majestic white-and-blue Boeing 747, but ‘Air Force One’ is actually the callsign of any US Air Force aircraft carrying the President.
So if the Commander-in-Chief bums a ride on the rattiest Air Force mail delivery plane, that aircraft enjoys a brief moment of glory as Air Force One.
In the unlikely but not unheard of instance that the President travels aboard a regular commercial airline, that aircraft adopts the callsign of Executive One. An aircraft carrying members of the president's family, but not the president himself, can assume the callsign Executive One Foxtrot.
2. There are two ‘Air Force Ones’
Only two of the highly-modified 747-200Bs – officially known as the model VC-25 – were ever built, and both were bespoke jobs for the White House.
They're practically identical but for their tail numbers of 28000 and 29000. Because, you know, it’s always good to have a spare...
3. The President lives and works at the pointy end
While you’d think the upstairs cabin of the 747 would be well suited to serve as the President’s working or sleeping quarters, the upper deck is given over to the communications room (as well as the cockpit, of course).
The very front of the Air Force One serves as private quarters for the President and the First Family, including two couches that can be converted into beds. Next door to this an ‘Oval Office in the sky’ where the President takes meetings.
This grainy snap of the President's private quarters, at the very nose of the 747, shows the 'Southwest American' design chosen by former First Lady Nancy Reagan (which we really, really hope has been updated over the years).
Further along the aircraft are meetings rooms, various private quarters for staff and guests, two kitchens and a 'medical annexe' capable of surgery.
4. There isn’t an escape pod
As entertaining as titular movie Air Force One may have been, the real Air Force One lacks the escape pod into which President Harrison Ford was hustled to escape Nasty Russian Terrorists.
Nor does the roster of extensive modifications made to the real Air Force One include the parachute ramp from which many Air Force One passengers in the movie also slipped from the grasp of those previously-mentioned Nasty Russian Terrorists.
Of course, there’s plenty more to be said about the amazing aircraft known as Air Force One – check out the video below.
Inside Air Force One (CNN)
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