The federal government is buying two Challenger 650 business jets to replace two original Canadair Challengers bought in the 1980s that it says are beyond necessary upgrades, most notably ADS-B The feds will spend $105 million on the luxurious 650s, which are popular intercontinental platforms for large companies, sports and entertainment celebrities. They are also vastly more capable in their executive transport role than the ancient airframes they will replace. Because of their range, they could fill in on longer trips for the increasingly unreliable Polaris transports, which are militarized A310s also from the 1980s and no longer in passenger service anywhere else.
As of Jan. 1 of this year, the two old Challengers were technically not allowed to enter most controlled airspace in the U.S. because they don’t have ADS-B. The business jets are commonly used to take senior government officials to Washington, D.C. and other destinations in the U.S. The U.S. gave Canada an exemption for the old Challengers and select other aircraft that allows them to be tracked with radar but they don’t get priority routing or other services.