Joe Biden Selects New Paint Design for Next US Air Force One VC-25B
President of the United States Joe Biden has selected the livery design for the “Next Air Force One,” VC-25B, a design that will closely resemble the livery of the current Air Force One, VC-25A, while also modernizing for the 21st century. While accounting for the VC-25B’s larger 747-8i aircraft, the VC-25B livery has three primary differences with the VC-25A’s livery. The light blue on VC-25B is a slightly deeper, more modern tone than VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Additionally, the VC-25B engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area vice the VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Finally, there is no polished metal section on the VC-25B because modern commercial aircraft skin alloys don’t allow for it.
A formal contractual decision for a VC-25B livery was not required until this year for Boeing to conduct engineering, certification preparation, and supplier selection activities for the program. The Air Force previously displayed a red, white, and blue livery for the VC-25B because it had been publicly expressed as a preferred livery in 2019. A thermal study later concluded the dark blue in the design would require additional Federal Aviation Administration qualification testing for several commercial components due to the added heat in certain environments. The VC-25B Program will deliver a new fleet of aircraft to enable POTUS to execute the duties of Head of State, Chief Executive, and Commander in Chief.
The aircraft will be uniquely modified to provide the POTUS, staff, and guests with safe and reliable air transportation with the equivalent level of communications capability and security available in the White House. The VC-25B aircraft will replace the current VC-25A fleet, which faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence. Modifications to the aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities. VC-25B deliveries are projected for 2027 for the first aircraft and 2028 for the second aircraft. The Air Force remains postured to keep VC-25A available and mission-ready until delivery of the VC-25B.
Air Force One is the official air traffic control designated call sign for a United States Air Force aircraft carrying the president of the United States. In common parlance, the term is used to denote U.S. Air Force aircraft modified and used to transport the president and a metonym for the primary presidential aircraft, VC-25, although it can be used to refer to any Air Force aircraft the president travels on. The “Air Force One” call sign was created in 1953, after a Lockheed Constellation carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same flight number. Since the introduction of SAM 26000 in 1962, the primary presidential aircraft has carried the distinctive livery designed by Raymond Loewy.