17:42 GMT03 December 2020
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    Following a Congressional inquiry into the US Air Force’s decision to spend $24 million for Boeing to replace refrigeration units in Air Force One, the presidential aircraft, the service has decided to terminate the deal.

    "A $24 million sole-source contract just didn't pass the smell test," Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) said in a Monday news release.

    "The Air Force, working with the White House Military Office, recently reviewed the investment for the VC-25A chiller replacement and jointly decided to terminate the effort," USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said in a May 29 letter.

    In February, Courtney wrote to Wilson inquiring about whether best practices had been followed in purchasing the chilling units through Boeing, noting that he was "disappointed" that the Air Force seemed to avoid conducting a "competitive sourcing process for this work."

    When the contract went out in February, a spokesman for the Air Force said the current refrigerators on the plane were failing at an increasing rate, "especially in hot/humid environments."

    The work for the VC-25A, a military version of Boeing's 747 aircraft, was not scheduled to be complete until 2020, and the next VC-25B is slated to become operational just four years later in 2024. Two 747-8 aircraft that had been sold to Russian airliner Transaero before the company went bankrupt have been purchased for the next Air Force One.


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