When President Obama climbs onto Air Force One for the first time, he will board a highly specialized aircraft with deep Wichita roots.
The presidential fleet of two Boeing 747-200Bs was modified into sophisticated aircraft by workers at Boeing Wichita. The aircraft continue to be maintained, modified and upgraded here.
That could change in the next decade.
Earlier this month, the Air Force issued a request seeking information from potential sources about supplying new presidential aircraft. It is believed to be the first time the bidding will be open to foreign companies.
Only Boeing or European-based Airbus is capable of supplying the aircraft. They have until Wednesday to reply to the request.
If Airbus were to win the contract, it would create a political firestorm, said Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson.
"It is obvious that an American president would want to be transported in a plane that was designed and built in America," Thompson said.
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