Washington (CNN)Air Force One is primed to receive an upgrade that will include new refrigerators expected to cost American taxpayers nearly $24 million.
“The current rear lower lobe cold chiller units being replaced are the original commercial equipment delivered with the aircraft in 1990. The units were based on the technology at the time and designed for short-term food storage,” Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNN.
“Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing, especially in hot/humid environments. The units are unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” she said.
Due to the fact that Air Force One is a one-of-a-kind aircraft, many of its components require unique testing by the Federal Aviation Administration and the cost of the testing is included in the price of the component, in this case refrigerators. The $24 million contract will cover the costs of engineering support services for the new chillers — including prototype design, manufacturing and installation, according to the DOD contract.
“The units and associated aircraft structural modifications are being specially designed to provide nearly 70 cubic feet of temperature-controlled (refrigeration/freezer) storage to support on-board personnel for an extended period of time, without having to restock while abroad,” Stefanek told CNN.
“The engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal Aviation Administration certification are included in the cost,” she said.
Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama Eric Schultz mocked the high price tag in a tweet on Friday, saying, “we would have been impeached.”
But since taking office, Trump — like his predecessors — has traveled aboard the Boeing-made VC-25 aircraft, the latest version of which entered service in 1990.
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