From VH-71 to VXX: the Future of US Presidential Helicopters
June 21/16: Sikorsky has announced that its VH-92A Marine One helicopter is on track to fly by Spring 2017. The company was selected to design a replacement for the aging fleet of current presidential helicopters in 2014 after a cancelled attempt by Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland which saw ballooned costs and requirements running out of control. Up next for the VH-92A program is the subsystem critical design review of the helicopter at the end of next month, and that is expected to take place earlier than scheduled.
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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