How Air Force One Can Defend the President from Attack

Business Insider has a piece on the how the President’s plane can defend itself.

Air Force One — technically whatever plane the President is onboard but currently a Boeing 747-200 (and eventually a new 747-8) — costs over $200,000 an hour to operate. Speaking of ‘operate’ there’s an onboard operating room staffed by a doctor whenever the plane is inflight.

Etihad’s ‘The Residence’ has nothing on Air Force One, whose President’s quarters includes not just sleeping quarters and a shower but also a gym.

There’s 4000 square feet of interior space. The President has an office, there’s a ‘situation room’ and a staff quarters.

Air Force One has the following defense capabilities:

  • “Mirror-ball defense technology in the wings scramble infrared missile guidance systems”
  • “Electronic countermeasure defense systems…jam enemy radar”
  • “Flares hidden in the confuse enemy missiles”
  • “The body of the plane can withstand a nuclear blast on the ground”
  • Each exit has its own retractable staircase, to avoid risk of sabotage of whatever staircase would be provided on the ground
  • Windows are armored

When safety really matters, there’s no involvement by the TSA.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. So how does a Marine helicopter help the first mutt?

    By the way, Escape From New York, was on an OTA channel last night.

  2. Actually, Air Force One is whatever *Air Force* aircraft the President is on. If the President is on a Navy aircraft, it’s Navy One; if he or she is on a civilian aircraft, it’s Executive One.

  3. @Kevin S: I remember seeing Escape from New York years ago. Old 80s action classic with Curt Russell, it’s so bad it’s good!

  4. @Augias- The fact that you stopped to reminisce about an old movie, and ignore @Kevin S racist comment is beyond me. And Kevin, how about showing the President and the constitutional office a bit of respect?

  5. @Tyler – oh, I only just noticed that… I guess I had only kind of skimmed his comment. yes, that was terrible and racist. Actually, shouldn’t that be deleted by a moderator or something?

  6. @Tyler

    Get real. The current anti-constitutional occupant in the White House is not white. Those pictures are great however, looking at Tim Geithner realize he’s talking to a Google communist.

  7. @Ed: ……? what does that even mean, “Google communist”? I suggest you read up on Communism and learn what it actually means before you use big words like that. The main feature of Communism is the nationalization of all industries, and seizing of private money. So that’s not something one can accuse Obama of being, it’s just meaningless hyperbole. And a “Google communist”? What an oxymoron, Google is a publicly traded company. He’s not anti-constitutional” either, not in the sense of how he got there, or in the sense that he wouldn’t respect the constitution – but if you’re saying something like that you should back it up with some sort of actual argument or reasoning. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.
    And what do you mean by mentioning he is “not white”? There is no excuse for racist slurs such as Kevin S was using.
    I’m suprised to see this kind of racism and political extremism on boardingarea. I thought this was just a place to read about flying.

  8. Seriously people??

    When I saw Kevin S’s comment it didn’t make sense to me, read like gibberish, didn’t occur to me it was an insult to the President.

    And I’m genuinely flummoxed by this other stuff.

    The post just seemed like interesting stuff about a PLANE to me, and pretty cool. What sort of lame folks take it in some other direction?

  9. @Gary: thank you! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t even have responded in details to that nonsense.

  10. The President’s security wherever he is involves the entire military and can escalate from small arms to commando action to full scale invasion force in minutes. At all times in public he protected by the top snipers from all services who literally grid out each venue to cover every square inch. Crowds are completely saturated with undercover agents who may have rocket launchers in baby carriages.

    The threats to this President are more than all others combined, due to the unhinged quality of his opposition which includes about 30% of the nation who self-describe as “rednecks” and are considered worldwide to be the stupidest and most repulsive obesities on the planet.

  11. Does every seat have a seat belt?? But those spinning chairs (I saw them spinning in House of Cards, at least) will surely just keep spinning during turbulence, even if you are belted in?

  12. @Greg Having traveled extensively, I can assure you there are many vile humans world-wide: some are extremely comparable to rednecks, and others are worse still. I think it’s an important observation, and I was relieved to abandon your viewpoint.

  13. @augias,

    STFU. You don’t know what Google and Communism is as a combo = O’bama-Bola. Just do a Google search as if it were a Vodka slip.

  14. Everyone… Air Force One is a symbol of our nation and the presidency which are both sacred. This post is simply an interesting look into one of the most fascinating and mysterious aircraft in history. If you want to insult presidents and cast conspiracy theories, I am sure there are far better websites which the FBI pays much more attention to. This is about planes, points and travel.

  15. i’ve often wondered – how does AF1 handle turbulence? i feel like i’ve never been on a plane that didn’t have some rough spots, and most seem to bounce around a lot (not to mention the ones where the FAs were told to stay seated for the entire flight!).

    have there been any presidents who aren’t good flyers? what do they do when they’re sitting around those tables and they hit bumps?

  16. The planes should be updated with the best of the best,no matter the cost. Try to focus on the cargo and the big picture.

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