The Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. CQ Brown Jr., flew and delivered the first of two new C-37B aircraft to the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Brown flew the aircraft on Nov. 3 from Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The new C-37B’s tail number is 1941, in honor of the year the Tuskegee Airmen were founded.
“I’m humbled to not only be asked to deliver this aircraft, but to be a red jacket wearer and now to be a red tail flyer,” said Brown, who is also an honorary Tuskegee Airman. “Honestly, I kind of pinched myself that I got this opportunity and a great connection. I’m humbled to also have the opportunity to leave a legacy for future generations.”
A derivative of the Gulfstream G550, C-37Bs are designed to transport the vice president and cabinet-level officials, and are equipped with commercial and military communications systems to provide secure and non-secure voice and data capabilities while in-flight. The aircraft are capable of high-altitude, intercontinental flight, with cruise operations ranging from 41,000 to 51,000 feet.
The Air Force acquired the two aircraft through an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with Gulfstream and then brought them up to the C-37B baseline with communications upgrades through L3 Harris, for a total of $159 million.
With the new aircraft, the U.S. Air Force will now have 16 C-37s — both A and B variants — operating around the world.
“We are very excited about the delivery of these aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Lindsey, Program Executive Officer and Director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, which is responsible for the acquisition, modernization, and sustainment of presidential and executive aircraft. “Our teams in the Commercial Derivative Aircraft Division and 645th Aeronautical Systems Group worked diligently with stakeholders, including the 89th Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and L3 Harris, to ensure the aircraft not only had the right capabilities and met requirements, but were also built and fielded quickly.”
Some of the new features of the aircraft include an updated defensive system, as well as a new onboard senior leader communications system.
Due to the demand for executive transport, the aircraft are expected to make an immediate difference.
“This is a big deal and very important to the Air Force,” said Randal Mitchell, program manager with the Commercial Derivative Aircraft Division, speaking about the delivery to Joint Base Andrews. “Our VIP fleet — comprised of C-21s, C-32s, C-37s, and C-40s — has a lot of demand on it. It’s a small fleet, so every aircraft has a huge impact in getting our senior leaders to the places they need to be, when they need to be there, and in constant communication throughout the trip. Currently, we are building out the C-37 fleet to improve aircraft availability and allow for additional support to each of our customers throughout the year.”