NORAD Releases Specs On Santa's Sleigh, Which Goes 'Faster Than Starlight' And Runs On Hay

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santa clause sleigh helicopterShutterstock

President Barack Obama suggested the US military's C-130 transport aircraft is "a little more efficient than Santa's sleigh" in a speech at the the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on Monday. However, according to data provided to Business Insider by the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Santa tracking program, Obama's assessment of Santa's technical capabilities was clearly incorrect. 

Business Insider reached out to NORAD, which is a bi-national program run by the US and Canadian governments, shortly after the president's speech. A spokesperson provided us with this statement on his remarks. 

"We really don't want to compare Santa's sleigh to a C-130, but what we can confirm is that Santa's sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle," the spokesperson said. "It is capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on December 24th (and sometimes briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas)."

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Though the spokesperson declined to provide their own comparison of the C-130 and Santa's sleigh, they gave us all of their "technical data" on the sleigh. Based on this information, it's abundantly clear Santa's sleigh is far faster and capable of carrying a much larger payload.

According to NORAD's fact sheet, the top speed of Santa's sleigh is "faster than starlight." NASA lists the speed of light as approximately 186,000 miles per second. On the other hand, the Air Force fact sheet on the C-130 notes its maximum speed is just 417 miles per hour. NORAD also said Santa's sleigh can carry about 60,000 tons while the maximum allowable payload of a C-130 is 44,000 pounds. The White House did not respond to a request from Business Insider about the president's incorrect claims about the sleigh.

NORAD's technical data on Santa's sleigh contains several other interesting tidbits. It notes the sleigh is armed with "purely defensive" antlers. NORAD also claims Santa weighs 260 pounds at the beginning of his annual mission and gains 1,000 pounds during his flight.

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Read NORAD's complete "technical data" on Santa's sleigh below. 

Designer & Builder K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.
Probable First Flight Dec. 24, 343 C.E.
Home Base North Pole
Length 75 cc (candy canes) / 150 lp (lollipops)
Width 40 cc / 80 lp
Height 55 cc / 110 lp
Note: Length, width and height are without reindeer
Weight at takeoff 75,000 gd (gumdrops)
Passenger weight at takeoff Santa Claus 260 pounds
Weight of gifts at takeoff 60,000 tons
Weight at landing 80,000 gd (ice & snow accumulation)
Passenger weight at landing 1,260 pounds
Propulsion Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
Armament Antlers (purely defensive)
Fuel Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer)
Emissions Classified
Climbing speed One "T" (Twinkle of an eye)
Max speed Faster than starlight