Even up in the sky, Air Force One is a likely target for enemies. Considering that the US presidential plane doesn’t have any missiles onboard, it seems like the number one US citizen would be vulnerable. However, fear not, for flares act as the first line of defense. If a missile targets the plane, a flare would be ejected, and the missile would follow its heat signatures and be thrown off course.
If you’re a big fan of “Top Gun: Maverick,” you’ll remember this is the strategy Maverick and Rooster use to waylay their enemy and survive in the skies. This is the same strategy Air Force One follows, except they did it first – and Air Force One style.
It’s no secret that communication among presidents, prime ministers, and world leaders is pretty serious business. As we have learned from films like “The Imitation Game” and series like “The Bletchley Circle,” these figures tend to talk in code. However, technology has advanced since World War Two, and even talking in code has developed – even when traveling 40,000 ft (12,100 m) in the air.
While onboard Air Force One, communication with the president isn’t interrupted at all; however, this would be an obvious security risk. This is why Air Force One is equipped with encryption and scrambling devices that work on a two-way system. Both information coming in and going out are encrypted so that top-secret information doesn’t fall on the wrong ears.
Given how advanced technology is, it’s unsurprising that the current presidential aircraft model is the biggest it’s ever been. Though it has yet to enter service, the Boeing 737-10 (the largest of the Boeing 737 family) has a wingspan of 117 ft 10 in. (35.9m) and a length of 143 ft 8 in (48.3). When empty, the aircraft’s overall mass is 156,500 lbs (70,987kg). It seems that size really does matter.
The two planes making up Air Force One (two Boeing 747-200s) boast a total length of 231.82 ft (70.66 m), wingspan of 195.67 ft (59.64 m), and without fuel, the weight is an incredible 526463.88 lb (238800 kg). Thank goodness aviation and engineering are where they’re at, or such a plane would never take off.
Qatar's 14 Aircraft – Over $100 Million Each
Being one of the richest people on the planet, we didn't expect Qatar's Emir, Tamim Al Thani, to have anything short of a palace when it came to his presidential aircraft. But what we also didn't expect was for him to have 14 of them! They all belong to the Emir's personal airline, Qatar Amiri Flight. And why wouldn't you purchase your own airline at that point? Even if each little aircraft sets you back a modest $100 million?
The Emir of Qatar doesn't travel light, taking his entourage of up to 1,000 people with him on official government trips. And he apparently likes to flaunt his numerous aircraft collection, as he once went to Japan to visit the Primer Minister and arrived with ten jets!
Yemen's Boeing 747SP – $300 million
Yemen’s president, Abdrabbuh Hadi, used to fly around in a $300 million Boeing 747SP before it was destroyed in a fire after an attack at the main airport during the country’s civil war. Obviously, the president needed another means of air travel, but the following purchase had a significantly lower price tag.
After the destruction of the original plane, in 2015, the modest president decided he wanted to purchase a $75 million airplane the second time around. Not many details are known about the inside of the plane, apart from the fact that it is completely fitted for a VIP configuration.