Air Force One provides luxurious and safe flights to presidents of the United States anywhere in the world. This highly sophisticated and incredibly engineered aircraft is designed to provide incredible speed, stealth, comfort, and functionality.
Although any Air Force aircraft boarding the president morphs into Air Force One, however, today we are going to talk about the most popular custom modified Boeing 747, to be more precise, VC-25A or otherwise known as Boeing 747-200. It is serving as Air Force One aircraft since 1990.
It is one thing to engineer an aircraft that carries people from one place to another, there is a whole another story when it’s the president of one the most powerful nations on the planet. The purpose here is not only to reach the destination in comfort, but also act as the oval office on the move, open for business all the times. In critical times, or in the case of a major conflict, whenever there is a need for immediate action, the president should be secured enough to issue orders to keep the rest of the nation safe. To ensure that safety for president mid-air in a metal tube flying at nearly the speed of sound is no simple task. This is why Air Force One aircraft has been designed with amazing technology. Although not all of the remarkable features are available as a public knowledge for obvious reasons, here we see some startling features of Air Force One aircraft.
The plane is 230-feet long double story flying fortress which offers a usable space of 4,000 square feet. When used commercially, the plane can accommodate over 400 people. However, as Air Force One AF1, only 102 can be taken aboard.
Advanced Defense Mechanisms
No surprises there, right? AF1 has to be equipped with the most advanced defense systems available, some of these features are classical in military aircraft, such as jammers and flare systems to baffle missiles and virtually hide the plane. AF1 takes it up a notch and is equipped to obliterate approaching missiles mid-air.
AF1 uses the Airborne Laser System ABL, which is used to engage and destroy tactical theater ballistic missiles using high-energy lasers. ABL can zap at 1.315-micron wavelength Laser beam generated from the back end of the fuselage using megawatt Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser COIL. The laser travels in pipes where it is steered using mirrors. The target is zapped with the laser, either to cause disarray in its guidance system, or to raise it’s temperature to the point of denotation before it can reach the aircraft. The technology is no longer used as a defense mechanism in other aircrafts. But due to the sensitive nature of the information, we can or cannot say the same for AF1 planes.
AF1 can shield people on board from aftermaths of a nuclear bomb and other related hazards.
We are aware of the mayhem caused by Electromagnetic Pulse EMP on any electronic device. If the EMP burst is directed at a plane with mere aluminum skin to protect itself, it will just fall out of the sky. To protect AF1 from such a disaster, front portion of the plane is covered in EMF shield, alongwith all the electronics circuitry on a plane. To ensure the ability of the aircraft to behave as a mobile command center for president, the equipment of communication is advance and secure.
Refuel Anytime Anywhere.
Given a situation where things turn ugly on the ground, AF1 should be able to keep flying for more than the planned period. AF1 can carry the president to fly around about a quarter of the world on a single tank.
One of the most amazing features of AF1 aircraft is its capability to be refueled. Using a modified refueler, AF1 can be refueled aerially, while allowing the aircraft to sustain flight indefinitely. While the AF1 plane is positioned carefully, a gas line from the back extends, and a refueling attachment from front of the aircraft opens to allow fuel into the tank. The process of positioning has less than a meter tolerance for mistakes. Moreover, it is dangerous, expensive, and is used as a last resort.
On-board Operating Room
The plane does not just offer protection against external threats, but also in the case of illnesses and injuries. AF1 offers an operational operating room on the plane, along with an expert surgeon and a range of medications.
There are some luxury features of the plane as well. A gourmet kitchen to serve over 100 highest government officials with a crew of 26 members and a storage that holds 2000 meals to be used in the worst case scenarios.
The oval office has 85 telephones on the plane to keep the office alive via communication. The plane can achieve speeds of up to Mach 0.85, almost at the speed of sound. The landing of AF1 is just as incredible as expected; the local airfare is practically halted to give AF1 priority for landing.
There exists an identical 747 to replace the damaged 747 as per the specified requirement.
“The President of the United States must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. Fortunately, modern Presidents have access to a variety of transportation options — including flying aboard Air Force One.” says the Whitehouse
Apart from the costly and luxurious interior, Air Force One aircraft is a magnificent piece of machinery custom built to provide comfort and safety to the president whatsoever the conditions may be.