Boeing C-32 (757)

1st Flight 1997

The Boeing C-32 is the United States Air Force designation for variants of the Boeing 757 in military service.

Two variants currently exist, filling different parts of the military passenger transport role.

The C-32A serves the Special Air Mission role, providing executive transport and broad communications capabilities to senior political officials, while the C-32B Gatekeeper provides clandestine airlift to special operations and global emergency response efforts.

The primary users of the C-32A are the vice president of the United States (using the call sign “Air Force Two” when aboard), the first lady, and the secretary of state.

On rare occasions, other members of the president’s Cabinet and members of Congress have flown aboard the C-32A for various missions.

The aircraft also occasionally serves as Air Force One in place of the larger VC-25A when the president is traveling to domestic destinations that cannot accommodate the larger Boeing 747-derived presidential plane.

Little is known of the activities of the secretive C-32B, whose existence is not widely acknowledged by the Air Force.

Outfitted for utility rather than luxury, the heavily modified aircraft were acquired to support the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Emergency Support Team, and have ties to special operations, and the U.S. Intelligence Community as well.

Variants

C-32A

The C-32A is the military designation for the Boeing 757-2G4, a variant of the Boeing 757-200, a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner that has been modified for government VIP transport use, including a change to a 45-passenger interior and military avionics.

A contract was awarded in August 1996 for four aircraft supplemented by the smaller C-37A and later C-40 Clipper to replace the aging fleet of VC-137 aircraft.

The first plane was delivered to the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland in late June 1998.

Two more aircraft were acquired later.

C-32B Gate Keeper

The 45-seat C-32B Gatekeeper provides airlift to the U.S. government’s Gate Keeper (GK) mission, a special access program which provides clandestine support to foreign nations through unclassified State Department Foreign Emergency Support Team missions and classified special operations and intelligence missions.

The aircraft are operated by two different units, the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 150th Special Operations Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the 486th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The C-32Bs operate at the direction of the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, though when serving a civilian agency, approval for the use of the aircraft is on the recommendation of the committee of Deputy Secretaries of Defence with the consent of the Secretary of Defence.

The development of the two aircraft emerged from the 2001 Air Force budget, where they were procured for $144.963 million to fill an Air Force request for transportation capabilities for the Foreign and Domestic Emergency Support Teams.

The Gate Keeper mission predates the aircraft, which are successors to previous fleets based on other models of aircraft.

The planes have been spotted throughout the world, including such locations as Area 51 and the Tonopah Test Range, as well as nearly every country.

The C-32B became known during the George W. Bush administration for unsubstantiated theories which circulated that they were connected to the CIA’s extraordinary rendition flights, giving them the nickname “torture taxi.”

Specifications

Crew

2 + 1 jump seat + 13 mission crew

Capacity

45

Length

155 ft 3 in (47.32 m)

Wingspan

124 ft 10 in (38.05 m)

Height

44 ft 3 in (13.49 m) at MTOW

Wing area

185.25 sq ft (17.210 m2)

Empty weight

128,730 lb (58,391 kg) OWE

Maximum zero-fuel weight

186,000 lb (84,368 kg) MZFW

Max take-off weight

256,000 lb (116,120 kg) MTOW

Maximum landing weight

210,000 lb (95,254 kg) MLW

Fuel capacity

13,334 US gal (11,103 imp gal; 50,475 l) with auxiliary tanks in fwd and aft cargo holds

Powerplant

2 × Pratt & Whitney PW2000-40 turbofan engines, 40,100 lbf (178 kN) thrust each

Performance

Maximum speed

526 kn (605 mph, 974 km/h)

Maximum speed

Mach 0.86 (MMO)

Cruising speed

Mach 0.8

Approach speed

137 kn (158 mph; 254 km/h)

Initial cruising height

35,400 ft (10,790 m)

Range

5,650 nmi (6,500 mi, 10,460 km)

Service ceiling

42,000 ft (13,000 m)

Wing loading

127.88 lb/sq ft (624.4 kg/m2)

Thrust/weight

0.314

Take-off field length

7,800 ft (2,377 m) at sea level 29 °C (84 °F)

Landing field length

5,100 ft (1,554 m) at MLW.

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