From VH-71 to VXX: the Future of US Presidential Helicopters
Final VH-71 cost – $2.3 billion to give Canada 9 helicopters as spare parts vehicles. Why?; Article reformatted.
Jan 27/14: VH-71 Termination. Inside Defense reports that Lockheed Martin and the US government finalized the end of the VH-71 helicopter program on Dec 19/13 with a final $91.1 million payout: $38.5 million for completed work and $51.6 million in termination fees. That brings the termination total to about $203 million (q.v. June 2/11).
The contract was terminated on June 2/09, and the total amount paid to Lockheed over the entire contract ends up costing the taxpayer about $2.2 billion. The biggest reason for all that waste is a President’s own office that couldn’t stop adding requirements (q.v. Dec 13/07, Jan 19/08), but enforcing Navy certification requirements on a helicopter designed to commercial aviation standards wasn’t helpful, either (q.v. March 14/08). Sources: Inside Defense, “DOD, Lockheed Settle On Final $2.3 Billion Tab For Terminated VH-71 Program”.
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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