The US Air Force recently acquired a new $64 million Gulfstream private jet for VIP government officials — see inside (Thomas Pallini)
USAF Gulfstream G550/C-37B

Kentavist Brackin/DVIDS/US Air Force

  • The US Air Force's 89th Airlift Wing provides travel for top government employees including the President of the United States
  • The wing primarily uses a fleet of modified civilian aircraft including the Boeing 747-200 used as Air Force One. 
  • Its newest aircraft, a military variant of a Gulfstream G550, was delivered to Joint Base Andrews in late December
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US Air Force operates a VIP transportation system for the government's top employees.

Most known for flying the president of the US on Air Force One, the Air Force also flies elected officials, cabinet secretaries, and even top generals on a fleet of VIP-configured aircraft.

As part of the Air Force's Special Air Mission, the 89th Airlift Wing based at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, DC operates a VIP fleet with the stated mission of "Enabling national interests through global transportation for America's senior leaders."

Its most frequent flyers include the president, vice president, first lady, secretary of state, secretary of defense, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a spokesperson for the wing told Business Insider. 

The aircraft in its fleet are primarily civilian aircraft sometimes modified for military use and receive military designations, as seen with Air Force One being a modified Boing 747-200 designated as the VC-25A.

The 89th Airlift Wing recently took delivery of its newest aircraft, a Gulfstream 550 designated as a C-37B, just before Christmas. The US Navy's website says that the aircraft cost $64 million.

Though the interior of the recently-received aircraft hasn't officially been released, the Air Force provided Business Insider with photos of one of its other Gulfstream C-37Bs. 

Here's a look inside one of the aircraft that the government's top officials use to jet around the world. 

With seating for up to 18, according to Gulfstream, there are a variety of configurations to choose from with the G550.

USAF Gulfstream G550

Kentavist P. Brackin/DVIDS/US Air ForceUp to four people can sit on a single couch alone, maximizing the capacity of the aircraft.

USAF Gulfstream G550

Kentavist P. Brackin/DVIDS/US Air ForceUsing the aircraft is one of the most secure ways for government officials to travel, but also one of the most elite.

USAF Gulfstream G550 Interior

Kentavist P. Brackin/DVIDS/US Air ForceEnlisted Air Force service members are trained to be flight attendants on the aircraft, serving the VIP guests on board.

Air Force Gulfstream Flight Attendant

Kevin Wallace/DVIDS/US Air ForceGulfstream boasts the range of the aircraft to be 6,750 nautical miles with eight passengers.

Gulfstream G550

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderAn Air Force pilot familiar with the C-37B told Business Insider the normal range of the aircraft with a standard load of passengers is around 5,500 nautical miles, enough to fly from Hawaii to Washington, DC nonstop.

A US Air Force C-37B

Kenny Holston/US Air ForceIts twin Rolls-Royce BR710 engines enable the plane to fly at speeds as great as Mach 0.885.

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Kenny Holston/US Air ForceThe aircraft can also fly as high as 51,000 feet, according to Gulfstream, where one can see the curvature of the earth.

Gulfstream G550 window.

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderFormer President Obama and his wife Michelle used a similar version of the aircraft for a date night to New York City in 2009.


Kevin Wallace/DVIDS/US Air ForceNot all Air Force VIP aircraft are painted in the "United States of America" blue and white livery, as seen with the new arrival, with some offering government officials more privacy in a more discrete paint job.

USAF Gulfstream G550/C-37B

Kentavist Brackin/DVIDS/US Air ForceGulfstream delivered 500 G550s by 2015, 12 years after the aircraft entered service.

Gulfstream G550

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderA rather unique feature of the aircraft is the ability for passengers to control the cabin's amenities such as lighting and temperature via a touchscreen device, though it's unclear whether the Air Force opted for that amenity.

Gulfstream G550

Benjamin Zhang/Business InsiderThe 89th Airlift Wing also operates other aircraft for VIPs, including the president's plane, Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747-200 designated as a VC-25A.

Air Force One

REUTERS/Soe Zeya TunA Boeing 757-200, or C-32A, is used primarily by current Vice President Mike Pence as Air Force Two.

Boeing 757 C32A

REUTERS/Yuri GripasA Boeing 737-700 BBJ, or C-40, is used primarily by cabinet secretaries and military leaders.


Kevin Wallace/DVIDS/US Air ForceThe C-40 is also frequently used for overseas congressional delegation trips.

A US Navy C-40 Clipper aircraft.

Jesus Sepulveda Torres/DVIDS/US Marine CorpsA Gulfstream III, known as the C-20, is also used for smaller missions.

A US Air Force Gulfstream C-20

Kevin Wallace/DVIDS/US Air ForceThe 89th Airlift Wing is also preparing for its newest arrivals, two Boeing 747-8i aircraft to be used as new Air Force One aircraft.

New Air Force One Model

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/GettyPresident Trump, who pushed for an inexpensive replacement aircraft and new paint scheme for Air Force One, frequently shows off the model of the new plane when foreign leaders to come to visit the White House.

New Air Force One Model at the White House

Alex Wong/Getty

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