From VH-71 to VXX: the Future of US Presidential Helicopters
March 26/21: Tests HMX-1 and the White House Military Office is testing the VH-92A at Joint Base Charleston this week. The military says this is part of operational testing for Marine Helicopter Squadron One. It is unknown how much longer the process will last. The new Marine One, also referred to as VH-92A, is the next-generation presidential transport helicopter being developed for the US Marine Corps (USMC). Scheduled to enter service this year, the VH-92A helicopter will provide safe and reliable helicopter transportation for the US president and vice president.
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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