From VH-71 to VXX: the Future of US Presidential Helicopters
July 26/23: Next-Gen Connecticut-based aerospace company Sikorsky is nearing the formal unveiling of the next generation Marine One presidential helicopter, the VH-92A Patriot. Built as a replacement for the current fleet of VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk helicopters, the VH-92A is on track to take over the esteemed Marine One mission. With the White House expecting a total fleet of 21 VH-92A helicopters, including two test aircraft, this transition marks a significant security measure in presidential transport. According to Paul Lemmo, President of Sikorsky, the VH-92A helicopters are already in service for some presidential missions, operating alongside the older VH-3D. However, over the next year or so, the VH-92A is expected to fully replace the previous models, Lemmo said during a Connecticut Business & Industry Association forum late last month.
In January 2005, the U.S. Navy selected the US101 as the new “Marine One” baseline helicopter, for use by the President of the United States. The US101 is an American variant of AgustaWestland’s successful AW101 multi-mission medium helicopter; it beat out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk, which is already in use as a government VIP transport in countries like South Korea.
That $1.7 billion victory was first endangered, and then destroyed, by ongoing changes from the White House staff. In 2008, the program’s ballooning costs and requirements got a temporary reprieve when US Navy agreed to proceed with the VH-71, despite a cost per aircraft equal or greater than the President’s Air Force One 747s. By June 2009, however, the VH-71 program had shot itself down.
Another round of competition is on the way, and back in 2009 the Pentagon said it was considering buying 2 different helicopters in the VXX follow-on program. Faced with an initial Analysis of Alternatives deemed too expensive, the OSD accepted the Navy’s revised approach in May 2012, setting things in motion for a new program of record.
The New Marine One Helicopter Programs: A Quick History
VH-3/ VH-60 Refurbishment
VH-71/VXX Marine One: Contracts & Events
FY 2011 – 2012
FY 2006 – 2007
Appendix A: VH-71 – The Plan, and the Problems
VXX 1.0 – Team Lockheed’s “US101”
Background: Helicopters & Program
Background: Legacy Helicopters
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