From VH-71 to VXX: the Future of US Presidential Helicopters
November 6/15: Sikorsky has completed a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for its new Presidential transport helicopter, the VH-92A. The company was awarded a $1.2 billion engineering & manufacturing development contract in May 2014 for development of the helicopter, with options covering 21 operational and 2 test helicopters. The Presidential Helicopter Recapitalization Program (or VXX) saw Sikorsky become the only bidder after other competitors dropped out. The VH-92A is scheduled for fielding in 2020, with the PDR allowing Sikorsky to move into a Critical Design Review (CDR) stage.
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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