WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants to cancel the plan for a new Air Force One design.
At 8:52 a.m. EST, Trump tweeted: "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!"
The US Air Force selected Boeing to design the next presidential transport aircraft in 2015. The company has put forth a heavily modified 747-8 design, and the service intends to have two of the new Air Force Ones flying by 2024.
While based on an existing design, the price for an Air Force One are massive compared to what a basic 747-8 commercial jet would cost, due to the electronic suites and defensive systems needed on the presidential plane.
Boeing's stock closed Dec. 2 at $152.25, and opened Dec. 5 at $153.24, closing that day at $152.16. As of 12:33 a.m. EST on Dec. 6, the stock sat lower at $151.45 .
Todd Harrison, a budget expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, responded to Trump’s tweet: "To be clear, it's $4B for two planes that operate as a flying command post for POTUS in a national emergency, have EMP protection, etc."
Harrison later noted that the Air Force's budget plan shows $2.9 billion in research, development, test and evaluation funding through fiscal 2021. Procurement is expected to come in at about $1 billion, getting essentially to the $4 billion figure cited by Trump.
An Air Force spokesman said the service has budgeted $2.7 billion, "but expect this number to change as the program matures with the completion of the risk reduction activities."
Boeing released a statement Tuesday, saying: "We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States. 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."
Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security arm, said in a Dec. 3 interview with Defense News TV that she is confident in how the program is moving along.
"We’re working currently with the customer on their aircraft procurement and on the actual outfitting of the aircraft," Caret said. "It’s very exciting to be part of this history and this legacy."
For more from Caret, watch the Dec.18 edition of Defense News TV.
For the record, Trump has not always been critical of Boeing's work. Looking at previous tweets, the next president has recommended Boeing as a stock several times and praised the company's 757 design.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.