Directorate signs contract to purchase presidential aircraft

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization Directorate headquartered here, signed a contract Aug. 4 to purchase two commercial Boeing 747-8s, which will become the next Air Force One fleet.

The contract was officially signed by James Patterson, contracting officer, who over the course of seven months led a seven person team in defining and negotiating the deal that resulted in the contract.

The signing was the culmination of countless hours and out-of-the box thinking by the PAR team at Wright-Patterson, and by the greater PAR team across the Air Force and Department of Defense. 

During the negotiation process Patterson vowed not to shave his beard until the contract was signed.

“We realized early in the process that this was taking longer than we thought, and I decided I could probably grow a pretty sweet beard in that amount of time,” Patterson said.  “We began to treat it as a team incentive and a way to mark the progress of the aircraft purchase. People would pass me in the hall and instead of asking ‘are we there yet?’ they’d say, ‘oh are you going to shave the beard this week?’” 

Patterson added that as demanding as the process was, it was a great experience.

Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson, the PAR Program Executive Officer, and Col. Dan Marticello, the PAR Program Manager, officiated the signing event and assisted in the shaving ceremony, alongside Molly Patterson, James Patterson’s wife. 

Leon Mable, PAR chief of contracts said he was pleased with the team’s creativity and dedication in achieving this significant step. 

“Boeing had these commercial inventory aircraft available, and this award provides the program’s first tangible hardware and a significant step toward ensuring overall program affordability,” Mable said.

“Purchasing these aircraft is a major step toward replacing the aging VC-25As by keeping us on track to modify and test the new aircraft to become presidential mission-ready by 2024,” said Richardson.  “The team did a phenomenal job getting this contract across the finish line, and I'm extremely proud of them.”