The next presidential helicopter program has passed its critical design review ahead of the first test flight in 2017, Sikorsky said in a Monday statement.
With the completion of the CDR, Sikorsky can start building the first of the variants of the S-92 helicopters – VH-92As — that will replace the aging fleet of Sikorsky VH-3D and VH-60Ns operated by the Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1).
“This is an important step forward in the replacement of our presidential fleet of helicopters. The successful CDR demonstrates this helicopter system meets the requirements of the U.S.M.C. and gives them exceptional mission performance from a platform that is affordable and supportable for this important mission,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office said in the statement
The CDR follows a 2014 $1.24 billion award to Sikorsky for the first set of test aircraft and supporting logistics, simulation and training and maintenance requirements for the new helicopter program.
“Two Engineering Development Model (EDM) aircraft are undergoing the modification process at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Conn., location, read the statement.
“First flight of a VH-92A configured aircraft is planned for 2017.”
Sikorsky was the lone bidder for the work and has since been bought by former competitor Lockheed Martin.
“Initial fielding is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023,” the company said in a release
“Under the contract, Sikorsky will use its production S-92 aircraft and integrate government defined mission systems and an executive interior.”
A former bid to replace presidential helo program was won by a Lockheed Augusta Westland team in 2009 but was canceled due to cost overruns.