Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is being awarded a $9.5 million contract modification in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A ‘Marine One’ Presidential Helicopter.
This modification, awarded by the U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), provides for the integration of the Mission Communications System Version 3.0 hardware changes. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and is expected to be completed in April 2020.
Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $6 million will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
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 first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft was performed on July 28 last year. The NAVAIR took delivery of the first aircraft from Sikorsky, a division of Lockheed Martin, in August.
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.