The US Army Bought a Saudi 777 So it Could Fly it to Maryland and Blow it Up

A Saudia Boeing 777-200ER that has most often been used for Royal charter flights will be flown to the U.S. and blown up.

A $1,467,500 US Army contract was awarded on Thursday to (acquire and) deliver the plane to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in November ($80,000 of this contract is actually for 4 Boeing 747 cargo sections).

The Aberdeen Test Center needs the plane so they can blow it up.

ATC intends to use the aircraft solely for destructive testing purposes and agrees that it will not allow the aircraft, nor any of its component parts, to be used on any other aircraft by any party.

The 20 year old aircraft has nearly 35,000 flight hours logged and has been in storage for nearly a year. So if you’re going to blow up a plane, I suppose it might as well be this one. Although the big winner, Clear Sky Aviation, noted in their proposal that “they were in the process of acquiring other 777s that might have had even higher flight hours” and they wanted the option to substitute a different aircraft.

Once they’ve flown the plane to Maryland they’ll remove the engines, APUs, and several other components. The government doesn’t need those, and Clear Sky will sell those separately.

There’s speculation the government wants the plane as part of work to determine where a flight crew can toss a bomb if they found one inflight — figuring out where it would do the least amount of damage.

Here’s the plane flying last year, just before being parked. It’s final flight is expected to be coming in five months. And then it’ll be blown up.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Only a million or so dollars. Not a bad price. They probably had few airlines interested in it given the large seats with actual arm rests instead of seat partitions that resemble arm rests.

    As for the bomb test theory, the best place to put it is out of the back of the plane or the side of the plane, even if you have to blow out a window and let it get sucked out. We will deal with it on the ground because, that’s easier to deal with than the whole plane.

  2. Typical wasteful spending. Federal government is a joke. Gets 70% of the tax money in the US but does not pay for anything local. Does not spend that money on schools, police, local infrastructure,, etc. Local taxes and states have to pay for all that stuff. So what do they spend all that money on … blowing up planes, useless government agencies and the military. Pathetic!

  3. Surely there is a better to spend this money? I’m sure that if they really wanted to, they could invest that money into fixing potholes, funding schools, and helping people struggling with ridiculous medical bills. My old middle school could not afford pencils. The pothole near my house has not been repaired for over 7 years. Now I ask, would fixing these issues be a better idea? The military could, I’m sure, do the exact same thing using computers and math. All great and dandy, minus the 1.4 million.

  4. Blow up one of the thousands that are stored in the Arizona desert. That would cost almost nothing.

  5. Aren’t there lots of abandoned aircraft parked in the desert that can be bought for far less $$

  6. Davis-Montham AFB in Tucson AZ and Pinal Airfield just north of Tucson are two large (Davis-Montham being the largest in the USA) airplane bone yards where literally thousands of planes are stored. Davis Montham dates to right after WW II and still has hundreds of WW II fighters and bombers. I’ve visited it, and it’s amazing. Pinal Airfield is a bone yard for Continental and Delta with 707’s through 747 planes.

    The “price is right” but you have to remove it. It get’s expensive if the plane wpon’t fly, and most won’t. The Saudi 777-200ER was flyable, so that was a major positive. I think the deal was a good one for the US Military.

  7. Isn’t this a violation of their contract then?

    ATC intends to use the aircraft solely for destructive testing purposes and agrees that it will not allow the aircraft, nor any of its component parts, to be used on any other aircraft by any party.

    Once they’ve flown the plane to Maryland they’ll remove the engines, APUs, and several other components. The government doesn’t need those, and Clear Sky will sell those separately.

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