The US Air Force has awarded a third contract to Boeing under the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization (PAR) programme aimed at preparing a process to convert the 747-8 into the next Air Force One.

The $16 million contract awarded on 28 September for “classified requirements” comes after Boeing received a $127.3 million award in July and $25.8 million award in January.

All three contracts totaling $169 million are part of the air force’s risk reduction efforts.

The air force has selected the 747-8 to replace two VC-25As, which are derived from the 747-200.

But service officials are taking great care on PAR to avoid the delays and cost overruns that have plagued other programmes.

“This modification is yet another step in a deliberate process to control programme risk and lifecycle costs,” the air force writes in a contract award notice.

The latest $16 million award will “aid in further defining detailed requirements and design trade-offs required to support informed decisions that will lead to a lower risk engineering and manufacturing development programme and lower life cycle costs”, the air force adds.