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It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
The base of the stairs of Air Force One as US President Barack Obama arrived at Ruzyne Airport in Prague in 2010. (Photo: The White House)


Taxpayers fork over $206,337 every hour the world’s most famous plane is in flight, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter obtained by the nonprofit Judicial Watch.

Also Read: 11 Killer Photos Of Jets In Full Afterburner

The FY15 cost per flying hour for Air Force One (VC-25A) includes “fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairables, aircraft overhaul, and engine overhaul,” according to the letter from the Department of the Air Force Headquarters Air Mobility Command to Judicial Watch.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama with members of Congress on Air Force One after he spoke at an AMA conference in Chicago in 2009 (Photo: The White House)

According to the National Taxpayer Union Foundation, President Barack Obama has traveled internationally more than any other president, and he has done it on the “most expensive-to-operate Air Force One to date.”

Here are some examples from Judicial Watch:

 • Flights for Obama’s 2014 Labor Day weekend fundraising trips to Westchester, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island, cost taxpayers $527,192.50

 • Transportation for Obama’s round-trip flight from Washington, D.C., to Westchester, New York, to attend a wedding cost taxpayers $358,490.90

 • The flight for Obama’s trip to Milwaukee to speak at “Laborfest 2014” cost taxpayers $653,718.70

 • Obama’s June 17-19, 2013, trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost taxpayers $7,921,638.66

Within the US, Obama has visited all but three states during his presidency. According to The Washington Post, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush were the only two presidents to visit all 50 states in the past 38 years.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama with the Congressional delegation aboard Air Force One in 2009, during a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Andrews AFB. (Photo: The White House)

The three-leveled “flying Oval Office” has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space and boasts a conference room, a dining room, a private quarters for the president, offices for senior staff members, a medical operating room (a doctor flies on every flight), a press area, two food-preparation galleys that can provide 100 meals, and multifrequency radios for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication, according to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aboard Air Force One en route to New Orleans in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

According to the White House, the retrofitted Boeing 747 can fly 6,205 miles from Washington, D.C., to Baghdad without stopping for fuel. The plane can also be refueled while in flight in case of an emergency, The Post reports.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Air Force One before leaving Cleveland for Philadelphia in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

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This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Articles

The Battle Of Iwo Jima Began 70 Years Ago — Here’s How It Looked When Marines Hit The Beach

The Battle of Iwo Jima kicked off 70 years ago, on Feb. 19, 1945.


One of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific war, the 35-day fight for the desolate island yielded 27 recipients of the Medal of Honor, along with one of the most famous photographs ever taken.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

According to the The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, American military planners thought the battle would only be a few days. Instead, it dragged on for five weeks, at a cost of more than 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost more than 18,000.

Also Read: This Was The Secret War Off The US Coast During World War II

Here’s what the Marine Corps Historical Company wrote about the first day:

This Day in Marine Corps History. 19 February 1945: At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and the new 5th Marine Division, making up the V Amphibious Corps, landed on Iwo Jima The initial wave did not come under Japanese fire for some time, as General Kuribayashi’s plan was to wait until the beach was full of the Marines and their equipment. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: US Marine Corps

NOW: Soldiers Who Survived The Bloodiest American Battle Of World War II Tell Their Stories

OR: The Legendary Rock Band KISS Has Surprising Roots From World War II d

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Behind the scenes at the 2016 ‘Pin-Ups For Vets’ calendar photo shoot

The 2016 Pin-Ups For Vets Calendar is ready for pre-sale now and ships in late August. This marks the organization’s 10th year of serving the military community. As a special bonus, they’ve included guest appearances by Max Uriarte (creator of Terminal Lance), Mark Valley (TV actor, best known for “Boston Legal”), and more.


Pin-Ups For Vets serves the military community by crisscrossing the country delivering gifts to hospitalized veterans at their bedsides, shipping care packages to troops stationed overseas, and more. Proceeds from the sales are used to carry out various veteran and troop initiatives.

Here’s a behind the scenes video of the 2016 calendar photo shoot:

Visit Pin-Ups For Vets or pre-order your copy of their 2016 calendar.

NOW: 15 modern photos of pin-up girls taken in support of US troops

OR: These ‘Pin-Up’ girls entertain veterans with burlesque shows and sexy calendars

Intel

The F-35 Can’t Carry Its Most Advanced Weapon Until 2022

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin’s F-35B variant has hit yet another snag which could seriously impact the aircraft’s overall ability to strike at ground targets.

Now, the fifth-generation aircraft will be unable to carry the military’s latest and most advanced munitions for awhile.

Also Read: 17 Signs That You Might Be A Military Aviator

Due to a design oversight, the internal weapon’s bay of the F-35B is too small to carry the required load of the new Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), Inside Defense reports, citing the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office. The SDB II is a next-generation precision-strike bomb that was meant to dovetail with the F-35 program.

The F-35B was designed to carry eight SDB IIs inside the internal weapons bay. These bombs would allow the F-35 pilot to target eight points from 40 miles away and with complete precision. The SDB IIs can also change course in-flight to follow moving targets through laser or infrared guidance systems, according to Foxtrot Alpha.

However, the F-35B can only fit four of the required bombs in its weapons bay. The F-35B variant has a significantly smaller internal bay than the F-35A and F-35C due to the aircraft’s design as a short-takeoff-vertical-landing aircraft.

Inside Defense reports that the “Navy initially wanted to field the SDB II first on the F-35B/C but is instead bringing forward integration with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The SDB II is an F-35 Block 4 software capability and the release of that software load has been pushed back to FY-22.”

In other words, because the SDB II is included with the weapon Block 4 upgrade for the F-35, the aircraft is now likely to not field the new munitions until 2022.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
F/A-18C releasing a laser-guided bomb. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova confirmed to Inside Defense that the SDB II problem has been known since 2007 and the more difficult changes to the aircraft have already been made in order to allow it to field the munitions.

“We’ve been working with the SDB II program office and their contractors since 2007,” DellaVedova said. “The fit issues have been known and documented and there were larger and more substantial modifications needed to support SDB II that have already been incorporated into production F-35 aircraft.”

The F-35B variant is the Marine Corps model of the plane and 34 aircraft have already been delivered to the branch. The delay in implementing the SDB II will not affect the aircraft’s ability to fly but will limit the operations that the F-35B will be able to effectively carry out.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

This is how powerful the Tsar Bomba would have been over America

In the heights of the Cold War, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe against his desk as he vowed to show America at the United Nation General Assembly in 1960. The following year, on October 30th, the most massive nuclear explosion ever was detonated over Severny Island.


The 50-megaton, 60,000-pound hydrogen bomb was said to have been 1,570 times larger than the combined energy of the nuclear devices dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 times the collective destructive power of every conventional weapon ever used in WWII, and it alone accounted for 10 percent of all nuclear yields ever.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Thankfully for humanity, this was never tested again.
(Courtesy Photo)

The mushroom cloud of the blast soared up 40 miles high (seven times the height of Mount Everest) and had a 59-mile-wide cap. The blast was so incomprehensibly large that it’s nearly impossible to contextualize just how devastating it would have been if detonated over American soil.

To put all of this into perspective — and much to the delight of Yankees fans — let’s measure the hypothetical blast using today’s pitcher’s mound at Oriole Park in Baltimore, MD, as a point of reference.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
I have nothing but love for the city of Baltimore and the Orioles, but they do make things rather convenient for this thought experiment.
(Courtesy Photo)

The initial blast would have decimated the entire city and everything within 12 miles. The mushroom cloud, with a radius of 29.5 miles, would have stretched all the way into Washington D.C. The heat from the blast would have extended out 62 miles, and would have left everyone in Dover, Delaware with third-degree burns.

According to NukeMap, roughly 1.4 million people would have been killed immediately and the nuclear fallout would have made its way through Philadelphia, PA and into Trenton, NJ. Shockwaves reached 430 miles, which would have put it past Cincinnati, OH. Windows would be shattered up to 560 miles miles away, reaching Chattanooga, TN.

With a height of 40 miles, the mushroom cloud would have been visible from 564.5 miles. That means everyone in the outskirts of Atlanta would have been able to see it. The fireball was visible from 620 miles away, which would have meant everyone in Chicago would be witness to it.

For more information on the destructive power of the Tsar Bomba, check out this video.

Intel

An epic Blue Angels beach flyby sends tents and umbrellas flying

Sometimes a military jet providing the overhead “sound of freedom” brings with it a very strong gust of wind.


A video posted to YouTube recently shows the Navy Blue Angels practicing near a Pensacola, Florida beach, with Angel no. 5 getting so close to the shore that tents, toys, and umbrellas go flying in the air with it. No one was hurt at the time, which was on July 11, according to Fox News.

Most of the beachgoers laugh and cheer after the stunt.

Watch:

NOW: Stunning footage shows pilot’s eye view from inside a Blue Angel cockpit

Intel

A book published in 513 B.C. predicted exactly how the Vietnam War would play out

The lessons in Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War” still ring true, despite it being written in 513 B.C. Case in point comes from the tactics used during the Vietnam War. As the following video points out, you have American Gen. William Westmoreland, who sees the battlefield like a chessboard. Then you have Gen. Võ Nguyên Giáp — who sees it like Sun Tzu would — as a go board. In go, you acquire territory with the fewest resources instead of eliminating the enemy troops like in Chess.


“It’s a classic case of a general fighting the last war,” says Richard A. Gabriel, a professor at the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, in the video. “The lessons he learned there [Gen. Westmoreland during World War II] only apply partially to Vietnam. There were no fixed objectives to be taken, there were no fixed units to be destroyed.”

This video shows how Sun Tzu’s lessons were applied during the Vietnam War:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy2PZFajNPE

NOW: This Green Beret’s heroism was so incredible that Ronald Reagan said it was hard to believe

OR: Here’s how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnam

Intel

This immersive video gives a 360 degree look at World War II combat

The guys over at World of Tanks and Google have made a 360-degree video of a World War II combat reenactment. Of course, World of Tanks made sure there were plenty of tanks in the video.


There are also infantrymen moving through trenches to shoot at the enemy and howitzers firing across the battlefield.

Check it out below. Click and drag the screen with your mouse cursor to look in any direction you like. Try watching it a few times and looking in different angles. We found new stuff our first few times watching it.

Intel

Here’s why it’s a bad idea to snipe at the US Army

A Taliban sniper team thought it would be a good idea to snipe some American soldiers, little did they know what they’d be facing in retaliation. America’s military doesn’t respond with just a little firepower, it responds with jets and bombs.


In this Hornet’s Nest clip on the American Heroes Channel, a father-son journalism team embedded with the 101st Airborne captured footage of the unit pinned down by Taliban snipers. The snipers come dangerously close to killing some of the soldiers. At first, the soldiers respond with machine gun fire, which managed to injure one of the insurgents but nothing too serious. “They’re reporting that everything is okay,” said the translator listening to the enemy radio chatter. “Good, it’s not going to be okay,” said Lt. Col. Joel Vowell in the video below.

The soldiers were using the shots to lock in the enemy’s position. Air support is called in and BOOM! Game over terrorists.

The military’s embedded program give journalists and filmmakers access to wars like never before, so it’s no surprise that the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been some of the best documented in history. Here’s the footage:

Intel

Watch Hollywood tough guy Gerard Butler pull Gs during an F-16 demo flight

Only a lucky few civilians can boast, “I flew in an F-16,” and Gerard Butler is now one of them. The “300” star flies in the rear cockpit in a video published on the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds’ YouTube channel.


Related: Keanu Reeves shows trigger skills at a ‘3-gun’ shooting range

“Oh my god, that’s the best thing I ever did in my life,” Butler says as the pilot pulls him out of an aerial roll. Even for a superstar like Butler the experience is incredible; he even pulled out his iPhone to capture the moment. When asked if he’d had enough for the day he says, “No, I wouldn’t mind pulling more Gs.”

Watch Butler fly with the Thunderbirds:

Video: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds (official)

Intel

Enlisted women are going to serve on Navy submarines for the first time ever

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Female sailors visit USS Ohio Photo: Flickr


The U.S. Navy is now recruiting enlisted servicewomen to serve on submarines in 2016.

This move will take the 2011 decision to integrate female officers into the submarine force one step further, assigning female chief petty officers and senior petty officers to co-ed crews.

Navy officers are reportedly optimistic about the transition process — even despite a video-taped shower scandal that took place aboard the USS Wyoming — one of the first subs to be assigned female officers in late 2011.

For more on this story, check out military.com

NOW: Meet the wounded Iraq war veteran being honored by ESPN

OR: Navy to deploy first underwater drones from submarines

Intel

This is Canada’s version of SEAL Team 6

Canada has its own version of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 that is just as capable at counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and other sensitive missions.


Also Read: Here’s How US Navy SEALs Take Down A House

Known as Joint Task Force 2 and based near Ottawa, the unit keeps tight-lipped about its operations. That’s the case with most special ops of course, but JTF2 has seemingly dodged infamy and insider books. That stands in sharp contrast to the SEAL Team that has become well-known in the U.S. thanks to leaked details of high profile missions such as the Bin Laden raid.

Established in 1993, the unit has around 250 members. According to its official website, the unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 — the first time it had been in major combat operations outside of Canada. It has also been rumored to be involved in combat against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The activities of the unit are so secretive that a query about why no one ever hears about it — unlike other nations’ special operations forces — appears as one the frequently asked questions on the Canadian Armed Forces website.

This video originally posted by Funker 530 gives an idea of some of their capabilities. Check it out:

Intel

Why ‘Stuxnet’ is still the greatest cyberattack victory to date

Cyberattacks are the best way for America’s enemies to mess around with the United States without triggering a full-scale war. Let’s be real, if China and Russia saw real-world retaliation for every time they messed with U.S. computer systems, we’d be in the middle of World War III right now. 

But aside from stealing military technology, hacking the names and bank accounts of every federal employee, and mucking about in some utility companies, their cyber intrusions have been little more than a nuisance up to this point. That’s not how American cyberwarriors operate.

norse cyber attack map
A photo taken of the Norse cyber attack map. (Flickr)

When the United States and Israel conduct a cyber attack, there’s a good reason for it and the target is clear. Stuxnet, a malicious virus designed to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was the sniper rifle of the U.S. cyber weapons arsenal. 

First uncovered in 2010, the Stuxnet worm was introduced onto the computer systems of the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. The program was specifically engineered to be on that particular server, one that had to be running Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition software, that had to be using Siemens technology (specifically, Siemens 7), and had control over a programmable logic controller (PLC), controlling an electric motor. If all of these conditions didn’t exist, the program would eventually delete itself. 

PLCs are a critical component of almost all major manufacturing facilities and automated machines, managing everything from traffic lights to pipe valves. There was only one place in the world where those conditions existed: the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. Those motors were controlling the centrifuges that were enriching uranium for Iran’s nuclear program.  

What this means is that whoever created the Stuxnet worm had an insider in the Natanz nuclear facility, one who knew the exact conditions malicious code would have to attack, as well as how best to permanently damage the facility’s operations, or at least set it back a little bit. 

Moreover, since the computer systems at Natanz weren’t connected to the internet, the inside man would also have to be able to introduce the worm to the Natanz controlling systems. According to the Times of Israel, this was done by the CIA and Mossad, who set up a fake front company with the sole purpose of getting Dutch intelligence agents posing as technicians into the facility. 

Once introduced, the worm lay dormant. Once awakened, it looks for the conditions that would begin its destructive sequence. At Natanz, it found those conditions and began to force the centrifuges to spin too fast for too long, damaging the mechanical equipment. Meanwhile data collection and reporting software tells monitoring engineers that all systems are operating normally. 

At Natanz, Stuxnet damaged 1,000 of the estimated 5,000 gas centrifuges before Iran realized something was amiss. They would reportedly execute a number of personnel at the facility, although it’s not known if intelligence assets were killed in the fallout. The day the Iranian government revealed what happened there, two Iranian nuclear scientists were killed by car bombs, further complicating the program’s restart. 

No intelligence agency has ever taken credit for the Natanz Stuxnet attacks, but evidence is clear that it was a highly-engineered bug, designed for a limited mission with a small target. But like most clandestine operations, there was unexpected blowback.

The Stuxnet virus escaped from the computers at Natanz and has since spread to other systems across the world, including European manufacturers and a Russian nuclear power plant – and possibly more. Stuxnet is difficult to find and is self-replicating, so computer systems infected by the worm may not realize it until it’s too late. 

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