The US Air Force has canceled a $24 million contract for new refrigerators for Air Force One, to replace two of five “chiller units in the presidential jet.
The decision to cancel the contract was first revealed in a statement issued Monday by Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat who’s the ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.
An Air Force spokesperson confirmed that the contract had been canceled, adding that there are no plans at the moment to replace the refrigerators through a future contract.
“The Air Force is making the right decision [to] cancel the previously announced sole-source contract and hit restart on this process,” Courtney said in the statement. “Even with the understanding that the Air Force One mission brings with it unique requirements and challenges, a $24 million sole-source contract just didn’t pass the smell test.”
Courtney said the decision to cancel the contract was made jointly by the Air Force and the White House Military Office, according to a letter he received from Heather Wilson, the secretary of the Air Force.
The new $24 million chiller units were intended to replace the refrigeration units being currently used, which, according to the Air Force, were part of “the original commercial equipment delivered with the aircraft in 1990.”
“Although serviced on a regular basis, reliability has decreased with failures increasing, especially in hot/humid environments. The units are unable to effectively support mission requirements for food storage,” Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNN in January, when news of the contract first broke.
While no one expects a refrigerator to last 28 years and it is understood that these have to be custom made to fit inside of the aircraft, so they won’t be cheap. But at almost $12 million per pop to keep the beer cold? That’s excessive. Even in Washington.
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