The C-32A, a military versions of Boeing's 757-200, replaced the VC-137 aircraft that are being retired from the presidential airlift fleet. The new planes will carry cabinet members, secretaries, and other dignitaries stateside and around the world. The first of four C-32As left Boeing's Seattle plant 19 June 1998, and the second aircraft arrived at Andrews three days later. The remaining two C-32As arrived in November and December.
In early 1996 the Air Force released a streamlined (IAW FAR Part 12) Request for Proposal (RFP) for the C-137 Replacement Program (C-32/VC-X). The VC-X program would lease with an option to buy four (4) new intercontinental commercial passenger aircraft to replace the aging C-137B/C aircraft at Andrews AFB MD. The VC-X aircraft must be capable of dispatch within three hours of notification to any suitable airfield in the world. Each aircraft must be capable of carrying at least 45 passengers, 16 crew members, and associated baggage, with a three section interior containing first class sleeper seats in the DV area and business class sleeper seats in the crew rest and staff areas, a fore and aft first class galley and clear and secure worldwide commercial communications capability. All aircraft should be capable of accepting a modular design non-permanent Distinguished Visitor kit installation (stateroom/conference area). A maximum of two of these kits will be purchased along with the four identically configured aircraft. The maximum range requirement necessitates that 45 passengers, 16 crew members, and baggage (14 cubic ft/per person) fly nonstop from Frankfurt, Germany to Andrews AFB, MD (a no wind range of 4150 NM) at normal cruise speed. The missionized aircraft must be FAA certified at time of delivery IAW 14 CFR Part 25, to include Stage 3 noise certification under 14 CFR Part 36 and shall be based on a type certified design at the time of proposal. The aircraft must provide sufficient storage to accommodate supplies and equipment to prepare at least two first class in-flight meals per flight for all passengers and crew members.
The Air Force purchased the new aircraft, known to the civilian world as the Boeing 757-200, under a new streamlined acquisition procedure that saved money and allowed the aircraft to be purchased from the existing Boeing production line. The C-32A program was the first major acquisition program accomplished under the new Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. Under the plan, the Air Force is treated the same as any commercial customer, from construction and painting to test and evaluation. The new aircraft, flown by the 89th Airlift Wing, were acquired through benchmark acquisition processes adopted as acquisition practices by other military services and government agencies. Specifically, the Air Force streamlined its acquisition techniques by developing requirements compatible with commercially available aircraft and components. The Air Force made extensive use of commercial practices in its contract negotiations, lease-purchase and eventual operational support of the four aircraft, thereby streamlining the acquisition process and reducing costs. The acquisition team that managed procurement of the C-32, with members from Aeronautical Systems Center's Mobility Mission Group, won the Vice Presidential Hammer Award for significantly reinventing the way the Air Force acquires aircraft.
The value of the C-32A contracts - for both aircraft acquisition and Contractor Logistic Support through the year 2005 - is approximately $540 million.
The C-32A, configured for 45 passengers and 16 crew, is designed for a 4,150 nautical mile mission, roughly the distance from Andrews to Frankfurt, Germany. The aircraft is also Stage III noise level compliant. Inside the C-32A, communications take a front seat. The vice president, heads of state and other decision-makers can conduct business anywhere around the world using improved telephones, satellites, television monitors, facsimiles and copy machines. Additional equipment on the C-32As includes Tacan military navigation equipment, a military Identification Friend/Foe transponder, a UHF satellite communications radio, secure voice and data transmission capability, and a passenger flight information display system that airs videos and broadcasts real-time global positioning on a moving world map. Increased storage was also a priority when the designer included large storage areas in the overhead bins in the cabin and the cargo compartments below. Like many high-standing aircraft it's easy to see under and around the C-32A -- an important security factor for protecting the plane and its passengers. Heading the safety equipment list is the Traffic Collision Avoidance System that gives advance warning of possible air crashes.
Safety features on the aircraft include a Flight Management System (FMS) with integrated, non-precision approach capable Global Positioning Service (GPS); windshear warning integrated with the Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS); Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) and the most-capable flight data and voice recorders available.
The 757-200 is equipped with two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney 2040 engines, producing 41,700 pounds static thrust each. The aircraft is far more fuel efficient and quieter than the 707-based C-137s they are replacing. Each engine of the C-32A has 40,000 pounds of thrust, compared to the VC-137 engine that delivers 14,000 pounds. Yet, the C-32A's high-bypass-ratio engines, combined with an advanced wing design, help make the plane one of the quietest, most fuel-efficient jetliners in the world.
One compelling reason behind extensively pre-testing the aircraft was Boeing's desire to speed up meeting its the Federal Aviation Agency's (FAA's) Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) standards. The original ETOPS rule was drafted in 1953 to protect against the chance of dual unrelated engine failures. Engines are now ten times more reliable, and the accident rate is 60 times better. Since 1959, no airplane has suffered dual unrelated engine failures. Unless a newly designed and produced aircraft had at least three engines, it usually had to wait sometimes four years before the FAA and the Joint Airworthiness Authorities (JAA) would allow it to fly more than one hour from an airport. (The JAA is situated in the Netherlands with representatives from Europe's FAA-equivalents.) When a new twin-engine aircraft is veteran enough, it is allowed to be three hours away, which puts the world at its landing gear. Shortening the trial period would drastically increase Boeing's sales -- in what executives agreed was a "make or break" project for the company. Introduction of ETOPS and the certification of the 757-200ER model in the late 1980s made the 757 a more popular option.
A Boeing-United Airlines team will provide Contractor Logistic Support including maintenance, on-site logistics and technical support for the C-32A fleet at Andrews Air Force Base. The team also will provide spares, perform aircraft and engine heavy maintenance, and provide various other engineering services.
In January 2001 the US Air Force, Aeronautical System Center announced that it intends to acquire on a sole-source basis, under the authority of 10 USC 2304 (c) as implemented by FAR 6.302-1, an upgrade to the existing mission communications system (MCS) on one C-32 aircraft with options for upgrades to three additional C-32 aircraft. The Boeing Company; Military Aircraft & Missile Systems Group; PO Box 3707, MS 4C-53; Seattle, WA 98124-2207 is the manufacturer of the C-32A and the only Contractor that has the expertise and working knowledge necessary to accomplish this upgrade. A flexible and responsive MCS is required to support the travel and deployed communications requirements of the nation's senior leaders (principals and staffs), cabinet members, members of Congress, and other high-ranking dignitaries of the US and foreign governments. The diverse nature of each mission requires an integrated, robust, and centrally managed MCS to adequately execute the DV's (principal and staff) national and international responsibilities. The National Command Authority (NCA) and their senior advisors demand a high reliability factor for mission communications. This is accomplished through systems flexibility, redundancy, and strict control and management of the limited communication resources. The Modification Proposal, Air Force Form 1067 identifies all the threshold and objective requirements along with the Key Performance Parameters (KPP's). The C-32A must be equipped with a modern communications suite capable of providing globally available secure and non-secure communications that are interoperable and compatible with associated ground, airborne, and spaceborne networks. The C-32A MCS will be employed in a ground communications center support role as well as for en-route support.
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