President-elect Donald Trump is calling the the U.S. government to cancel an agreement with Boeing for development of a new Air Force One.
In his tweet on Tuesday morning, Trump said that the cost of a next-generation plane for the president would be too much, The New York Times reported.
Here is his statement on Twitter:
“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
According to a report from USA Today, the U.S. Air Force inked a deal with Boeing in January and July this year. Under the terms of the deal, Boeing is responsible for designing certain aspects of the new presidential aircraft, including its interior, electrical and power system, and maintenance systems.
Early this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that the entire program would cost about $3.2 billion from the 2010 through 2020 fiscal years, including $2 billion for research and development.
The report suggests that the military has yet to award a contract to actually assemble the planes.
After the tweet, Trump told reporters at Trump Tower in New York: “The plane is totally out of control. It’s going to be over $4 billion for Air Force One program and I think it’s ridiculous. I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”
In a short statement, Boeing, without mentioning Trump, said that its current deal for Air Force One development is worth $170 million.
“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,” the air craft manufacturer said.
The Air Force is reportedly preparing a statement on Trump’s call.
The Air Force One fleet includes two aging 747-200 aircraft. And the military wants to replace those aircrafts with two new, modified 747-8 planes.
Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia believes that the current Air Force One planes, made in the 1980s, have become obsolete and the replacement is necessary. He noted that the planes are equipped with state-of-the-art communications technology and defense mechanisms to survive nuclear war or terrorist attacks.
Anything in the $3 billion to $4 billion range would be reasonable, according to Aboulafia.
“There is no reason Mr. Trump could not continue using the current Air Force One. Even if the Boeing contract goes forward, it is unlikely that a new version of the plane would be ready before the tail end of a second Trump term, should he win one,” The New York Times repored.