Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, has been awarded a $542 million contract, on June 10, to build six VH-92A Presidential Helicopters.
The contract, which also includes spares and support equipment, was awarded by the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
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.
The new helicopter will increase performance and payload over the current Presidential helicopters, the venerable VH-3D Sea Kings and VH-60N White Hawks, that have been serving over 40 years. The VH-92A will provide enhanced crew coordination systems and communications capabilities, plus improve availability and maintainability.
“The team has efficiently leveraged a proven platform with cutting edge government mission systems for rapid agile development of the next helicopters to fly Presidential missions,” said the Honorable James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.
“Optimizing commercial practices, the VH-92A will provide safe, reliable and timely transportation with mission-critical communications that will support the security of our Nation. I am proud of the combined government and contractor team who has worked so hard to transition this program into initial production and did so at over $1 billion less than the program’s cost baseline.”
“The Presidential lift mission is a no-fail mission for the Marine Corps,” said Lt. Gen Steven Rudder, the deputy commandant for Marine Corps aviation.
“We deliver helicopter and MV-22 transportation across the globe to support the requirements of the Presidency. The authorization to move forward with procurement of the VH-92A will allow the Marine Corps to deliver the next generation of Presidential Helicopter support.”
“The authorization to exercise the program’s first Low-Rate Initial Production lot is a testament to the hard work and dedication from the team to deliver this important asset on budget and within the planned acquisition timeline” said Col. Eric Ropella, PMA-274 presidential helicopter program manager. “This award is an example of acquisition done right.”
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.
Government testing of VH-92 will continue to validate system performance and prepare for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) planned for mid 2020 and Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in late 2020.