Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, is awarded a $470.8 million contract modification for six VH-92A ‘Marine One’ helicopters in support of the U.S. Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program.
This modification exercises options to procure six Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot II VH-92A aircraft, interim contractor support and six cabin interior reconfiguration kits in support of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) is the contracting activity.
These helicopters are part of the 23 aircraft program of record for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). Under the terms of the contract, Sikorsky will begin deliveries of six VH-92A helicopters in 2022. The remaining production aircraft will be delivered in 2022 and 2023.
All six of the production aircraft from the first LRIP contract are undergoing modifications at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut plant and are on schedule to begin deliveries in 2021.
Scheduled to enter into service in 2020, the VH-92A will transport the President and Vice President of the United States and other senior officials. The helicopters will be operated by the U.S. Marine Corps’ Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) “Nighthawks”, and will be referred to as Marine One when the U.S. President is onboard. Any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the U.S. Vice President has the call sign Marine Two.
The Sikorsky VH-92A aircraft is based on Sikorsky’s successful and FAA-certified S-92A commercial aircraft, which surpassed 1.5 million flight hours in 2019 and averages 14,400 hours of safe flight per month. The S-92A aircraft, assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is modified to include the integration of government-defined missions systems and an executive interior.
Sikorsky has transferred five VH-92A helicopters into government test with the sixth completing modification and entering into government test this spring. The VH-92A program is on track to enter Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) later this year.
The VH-92A test aircraft at Patuxent River, Maryland, have proven their production readiness by undergoing rigorous U.S. government testing and operational assessments, including more than 1,000 flight test hours establishing the aircraft’s technical maturity and readiness of its mission systems.
The new helicopter will increase performance and payload over the current Presidential helicopters, the venerable VH-3D Sea King (a variant of Sikosky SH-3 Sea King) and VH-60N White Hawk (a variant of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk), that have been serving over 40 years. Both helicopters are called “White Tops” because of their livery.
The VH-92A will provide enhanced crew coordination systems and communications capabilities, plus improve availability and maintainability.
The U.S. Navy awarded a $1.24 billion fixed-price incentive Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract with production options to Sikorsky on May 7, 2014. The EMD contract called for the production of a total of six VH-92A aircraft: two test aircraft and four production aircraft.
In 2016, the design passed its critical design review, clearing it for production.
The first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft was performed on July 28, 2018. The NAVAIR took delivery of the first aircraft from Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, in August that year.
A developmental VH-92A helicopter conducted landing and take-off test at the White House South Lawn for the first time on Sep. 22, 2018.