The C-32 is a military version of the Boeing 757-200 extended range aircraft, selected along with the C-37A to replace the aging fleet of VC-137 aircraft. Active-duty aircrews from the 1st Airlift Squadron, 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, fly the aircraft.
The contract was awarded for the C-32 in August 1996. By using commercial off-the-shelf acquisition practices, a new record has been set from contract award to aircraft delivery: less than two years. The C-32 is the first military aircraft ever acquired in this manner. The 89th Airlift Wing acquired the first of four aircraft in late June 1998. A further two were acquired in 2010, with both having been used previously as commercial aircraft.
The 227th Special Operations Flight at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., has two modified C-32B aircraft supporting specialist worldwide airlift operations (c/n 25493 & 25494). They are known to be operated by the 486th Flight Test Squadron located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. These are the only U.S Air Force C-32B in existence although both aircraft have been associated with a multiplicity of registrations. These 757s are fitted with a generic (non-VIP) interior and 48 comfortable seats. All luggage and cargo must be fitted into the rear of the main cabin (except for a small lower cargo hold that contains spare tires/wheels along with oil and hydraulic servicing units), the forward and aft lower cargo areas housing extended range fuel cells giving them a 6,000 nmi (6,900 mi; 11,000 km) range (the longest range of any 757 in operation). They have frequently been associated with the Foreign Emergency Support Team of the U.S. State Department.
The C-32 is a specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 airliner. The C-32 body is identical to that of the Boeing 757-200, but has different interior furnishings and more sophisticated avionics. For the C-32A, the passenger cabin is divided into four sections:
- The forward area has a communications center, galley, lavatory and 10 business-class seats.
- The second section is a fully enclosed stateroom for the use of the primary passenger. It includes a changing area, private lavatory, separate entertainment system, two first-class swivel seats and a convertible divan that seats three and folds out to a bed.
- The third section contains the conference and staff facility with eight business-class seats.
- The rear section of the cabin contains general seating with 32 business-class seats, galley, two lavatories and closets.
The C-32 is more fuel efficient and has improved capabilities over its VC-137 predecessor. It can travel twice the distance on the same amount of fuel and operate on shorter runways down to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in length. Its 92,000 pound (41,700 kg) fuel capacity allows the aircraft to travel 5,500 nautical miles (10,000 km) unrefueled. In-flight refueling is via a receptacle on top of the forward fuselage, just aft of the cockpit.
Heading the safety equipment list is the Traffic Collision Avoidance System and Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System. Weather systems are enhanced with a Predictive Windshear Warning System. Other items include the future air navigation system with Global Positioning System, Flight Management System/Electronic Flight Instrument System, Controller Pilot Data Link Communications and Automatic Dependent Surveillance.
Inside the C-32, communications are paramount. The Vice President, heads of state and other decision-makers can conduct business anywhere around the world using improved telephones, satellites, television monitors, facsimiles and copy machines. The C-32 has state-of-the-art avionics equipment.
The six C-32A aircraft have blended winglets added by Goodrich Aviation Technical Services in Everett, Washington.
The C-32 has better short-field capacity than the VC-25, making it preferable when flying to locations without a runway long enough to accommodate the VC-25.