The Boeing [BA] VC-25B program is encountering a two- to three-year delivery delay, a U.S. Air Force official said on May 19.

The program has aimed to replace two more than 30-year-old VC-25As by the end of 2024. The aircraft, modified 747-200s, are known as Air Force One when the president is aboard.

“We are anticipating at this point a delay to the previously approved [VC-25B] program schedule on the order of 24 to 36 months–two to three years, which is obviously quite a significant delay,” Air Force Andrew Hunter said at a House Armed Services Committee seapower and projection forces panel hearing on May 19 in response to a question from Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), the chairman of the subcommittee.

“We’re working through how to do that,” Hunter said. “A lot of it was with a subcontractor that was not able to get the job done in terms of the interior of the aircraft and some of the modifications there, and that significantly pushed the schedule back.”

Last year, Boeing pointed to supply problems in canceling the subcontract of Texas-based GDC Technics, which was to provide the interiors for the VC-25Bs, modified Boeing 747-8s.

“I think it’s a mix of Boeing doing some additional work itself, but also bringing on other subcontractors to help with the effort,” Hunter said when asked how Boeing would replace GDC Technics. Hunter told Courtney he would report back on the cost implications of the two- to three-year delay.

“We believe we can probably take care of it in terms of resources that we have within the program, although you may see some changes in the upcoming [fiscal] ’24 budget request compared to what we had previously programmed for [sustainment of] the VC-25A.”

In 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $3.9 billion contract to modify the two 747-8 aircraft to become the next Air Force One by the end of 2024. The VC-25Bs are to include upgrades such as autonomous ground operations capabilities, specialized communications systems, more electrical power and a medical facility.

Boeing said last month that it took a $660 million hit to first quarter earnings due to higher supplier costs, higher costs to finalize technical requirements, and schedule delays in the VC-25B program (Defense Daily, Apr. 27).

During the tenure of former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing took on additional risk on the VC-25B, which former President Trump threatened to cancel after questioning the cost of the program. Boeing agreed to cut the price.

In last month’s Boeing first quarter earnings call, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun didn’t directly address the unusual pressure Trump exerted on the program, saying “I’m just going to call a very unique moment, a very unique negotiation, a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken. But we are where we are.”