Air Force One’s new refrigerators will cost taxpayers $23.6 million, report

The update will reportedly replace two "cold chiller units" out of five on the aircraft

By Nicole Karlis
January 27, 2018 6:33PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Boeing was awarded a $23,657,671 contract by the U.S. Air Force to replace “chillers”—an upgrade on Air Force One that will come out taxpayers’ pockets, according to a CNN report.

CNN spoke to Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek who said that the two alleged dilapidated “chillers” were designed for “short-term food storage” in 1990.


"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," Stefanek told CNN. "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."

She added that while Air Force One is regularly maintained, there have been increasing failures with the chillers due to “hot/humid environments.”

"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.


According to the contract, the near $24 million will cover the cost of engineering support services, prototype design, manufacture/procurement, installation, and the testing of one prototype, and more.

“Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; and various other locations, with an expected completion date of Oct. 30, 2019. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2017 procurement funds in the amount of $23,657,671 are being obligated at the time of award,” the contract states.

Trump took his first flight on Air Force One as president on Jan. 26, 2017. He told the media that Air Force One was at par with the personal plane he had relied on for years, according to the Washington Post. 


“That’s a good one, too, but this is a very special plane for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Beautiful, a great plane, terrific.”

Presumably, this was before he got irritated with the refrigerators.

Senior Advisor to former President Barack Obama, Eric Schultz, tweeted about the report saying, “we would have been impeached.”



Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a staff writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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Air Force One Ann Stefanek Donald Trump U.s. Air Force