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Sikorsky Wins $1.24 Billion Contract for Presidential Helo

An artist’s rendering of Sikorsky’s bid for the VXX presidential helicopter. Sikorsky Photo

An artist’s rendering of Sikorsky’s bid for the VXX presidential helicopter. Sikorsky Photo

The U.S. Navy has selected the Sikorsky S-92 for the VXX Presidential Helicopter program as part of a $1.24 billion contract award. The helicopter will be known as Marine One when the president is aboard, according to a Wednesday Pentagon contract announcement.

“This contract provides for the procurement of six test aircraft and the associated support equipment, integration of mature government-defined mission systems, a training system including a flight training device and a maintenance training device, logistics, engineering, and test and evaluation support,” according to the announcement.

VXX is an unusual program in that Sikorsky — which offered its S-92 helicopter to replace the Navy’s increasingly aged fleet of Sikorsky VH-3 and VH-60 VIP transport aircraft — was the only bidder.

In earlier in July 2013, a competing team that was offering the AgustaWestland AW101 heavy lift helicopter dropped out of the competition. Boeing did not offer its CH-47 Chinook or the V-22 Osprey, which the company produces jointly with Bell.

Nonetheless, even with only one bid, the Navy is still legally bound to follow the standard process as it moved forward.

Now that Sikorsky has formally won the tender, the program is expected to move quickly. The Navy is expected to take delivery of the first test aircraft in 2016.

Meanwhile, initial operational capability is set for late 2020 while full operational capability is set for 2022.

The Navy ultimately hopes to buy 21 operational aircraft and two test airframes.

The current development effort for a new executive helicopter follows a June 2009 VXX program — won by a Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland team — that was canceled due to cost overruns and became major point of contention during the 2008 U.S. presidential race.

  • Bruce Parker

    At a time when our Combat Aircraft, Ships and other Military Hardware programs are being Seriously cut back due to Sequestration and with The Current Regimes Total lack of support for Our Military, This is One Program which Should NEVER see the light of day! Let the President Fly on the Same aircraft that our Military are using! Take a CH-53E Super Stallion from an operational unit and repaint it as Marine One!…

  • Erik W.

    Disgraceful waste of money.

  • Michael Flower

    – Presidential Helo!

    I’t all political, the AgustaWestland AW-101 should have won the contract because of 3-engine configuration and safety record. And, why wasn’t the Boeing-Bell V-22 Osprey selected as a second choose. Was it because the selection has less faith with the V-22 carrying the President of the United States, and more faith carrying just a BUNCH of Marrines!

    • redgriffin

      V-22 couldn’t be used because the wing span is to large for the landing area on the South Lawn the AW-101 was not actively considered because it is a European design and Congressional Jingoism would not allow it.