Navigational Satellite Communication Expansion With Air Force One

Creating a mobile office is a challenge. Creating one that hovers 30,000 feet in the air and weighs over 833,000 pounds is a huge challenge. It requires radar screens, printers, transmitters, and state-of-the-art communications equipment. Boeing and the United States Air Force recently teamed up to upgrade their satellite and navigational systems on Air Force One.

The solution? Upgrade the current systems by using newer technology and space-saving hardware.

Air Force One has been in existence for about 40 years. The presidential plane came to be known as Air Force One when pilots would radio to their ground stations with that call sign for President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he was aboard.Over the years, this Boeing plane has transformed from an average transportation vehicle to one of high power, high security, and high technology.

Many key pieces went into upgrading the new SatCom system. Thousands of feet of wire installed, multiple satellites were deployed, and many different pieces of hardware were implemented.

One piece of this hardware was Comtrol’s RocketPort multiport serial cards. These cards helped hook navigational equipment to centralized computers, including:


Through theses upgrades, fewer servers meant more room for navigational and communications equipment.

Communications from all over the world can be sent and received on Air Force One. In fact, there are over 225 miles of wire included in this presidential jet. Wiring is shielded to protect it from an electromagnetic pulse, which is generated by a thermonuclear blast and would interference with electronic signals.

The president has his own personal office onboard with all of the same types of equipment as his office back in Washington, D.C. Another office can be converted into a medical facility when required. There are work and rest areas for the presidential staff, media representatives, and Air Force crews, including two galleys that are each capable of providing food for 50 people.
“Comtrol’s products enabled us to eliminate unnecessary equipment which previously caused space constraints.”

– Project Manager, Boeing

Creating a Satellite Communication system, especially one that is as vitally important as the President’s, requires years of planning, testing, and organizing. The products that are used on board Air Force One had to meet the strictest of testing requirements before being approved and implemented. Comtrol is proud that Air Force One incorporated Comtrol’s products into its satellite communications systems to protect and support what many view as the country’s most valuable cargo, our President.