U.S.

Why Will it Cost $24 Million to Install New Fridges on Air Force One?

Trump Air Force one
President Donald Trump exits Air Force One after arriving at the Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on February 17. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Air Force One is in need of an overhaul—with the Defense Department announcing that replacing the plane’s ageing refrigeration systems will cost $24 million.

Perhaps anticipating taxpayers’ astonishment at the sum, the defense department detailed the reason for why such a seemingly minor overhaul  will cost so much.

The units currently in place came with the plane in 1990 when they were presented to the Air Force by Boeing, and need replacing “to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” the Air Force said in a statement on Saturday.

“The units were based on the technology at the time and designed for short-term food storage,” the statement said. “Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing.”

The Air Force also said “the engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification” were all included in the cost cited.

According to security website Defense One, Air Force One must be able to provide crew and passengers meals for weeks without resupplying.

This requires storing about 3,000 meals in huge refrigerators below the passenger’s cabin.

Although the new fridges will use standard industry technology, they have a unique capacity to provide about 70 cubic feet of cold storage, meaning crews will not have to re-stock for extended periods of time.

The Boeing company was awarded the contract for the overhaul in December, with the work to be completed in October, 2019.

After his election as president, Trump alleged that Boeing had overcharged when it cited $4 billion as the cost for a new Air Force One plane, though others have disputed the accuracy of the figure.

“I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number,” he said. “We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

The president seemed to have warmed to the aircraft after making his first trip on it after taking office, calling it a “great plane.”