While accounting for the VC-25B’s larger 747-8i aircraft, the VC-25B livery has three primary differences with the VC-25A’s livery. The light blue on VC-25B is a slightly deeper, more modern tone than VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Additionally, the VC-25B engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area vice the VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue. Finally, there is no polished metal section on the VC-25B because modern commercial aircraft skin alloys don’t allow for it.
The US Air Force announced that a formal contractual decision for a VC-25B livery was not required until this year for Boeing to conduct engineering, certification preparation, and supplier selection activities for the program. The US Air Force previously displayed a red, white, and blue livery for the VC-25B because it had been publicly expressed as a preferred livery in 2019. A thermal study later concluded the dark blue in the design would require additional FAA qualification testing for several commercial components due to the added heat in certain environments.
The VC-25B aircraft will replace the current VC-25A fleet, which faces capability gaps, rising maintenance costs, and parts obsolescence. Modifications to the aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, an executive interior, a self-defense system, and autonomous ground operations capabilities.
VC-25B deliveries are projected for 2027 for the first aircraft and 2028 for the second aircraft. The US Air Force plans to keep VC-25A available and mission-ready until delivery of the VC-25B.