A developmental Sikorsky VH-92A ‘Marine One’ Presidential Helicopter has conducted landing and take-off test at the White House South Lawn for the first time on Sep. 22, 2018.
The image of the maiden landing was first published by The Drive website.
The helicopter, which was painted in the traditional presidential airlift colors, is the first of six test aircraft developed under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, which includes the design, certification and testing of a replacement helicopter to support the presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission.
The landing and take-offs were part of a comprehensive test plan designed to ensure the aircraft meets all operational specifications. The testing is being done primarily at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River by the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
The first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program was performed on July 28 this year. The NAVAIR took delivery of the first aircraft from Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, in August.
The VH-92A aircraft is based on Sikorsky’s successful and FAA-certified S-92A commercial aircraft, which surpassed one million flight hours. The S-92A aircraft, assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is modified to include integration of government-defined missions systems and an executive interior.
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 will produce a total of six aircraft: two test aircraft and four production aircraft. The production options for the remaining 17 aircraft will be finalized in FY19.
In 2016, the design passed its critical design review, clearing it for production. Now the Navy is working on a proposal to buy 17 production aircraft, for a total fleet of 23, which will replace the fleet of eight H-60Ns and 11 VH-3Ds that currently support the president.
The VH-92A will enter into service in 2020 and will replace both the venerable VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk helicopters. The helicopters will be operated by the USMC Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 “Nighthawks”).
The VH-92A will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other senior officials. The helicopter will be referred to as Marine One when the U.S. President is onboard.