VH-3D and Marine Guard

VH-3D

February 8/21: VH-92A Sikorsky won a $478.6 million contract modification, which exercises options for the procurement of five Lot Three low rate initial production Presidential Helicopters Replacement Program (VH-92A) aircraft, and associated interim contractor support, two cabin interior reconfiguration kits, support equipment, initial spares, and system parts replenishment. The new Marine One, also referred to as VH-92A, is the next-generation presidential transport helicopter being developed for the US Marine Corps (USMC). It will replace the ageing VH-3D presidential helicopter in service with the USMC. Work will take place in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Arizona and Virginia. Estimated completion will be in December 2023.

VH-71 EH101 Concept

Aborted landing
(click to view full)

In January 2005, the U.S. Navy selected the US101 as the new “Marine One” baseline helicopter, for use by the President of the United States. The US101 is an American variant of AgustaWestland’s successful AW101 multi-mission medium helicopter; it beat out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk, which is already in use as a government VIP transport in countries like South Korea.

That $1.7 billion victory was first endangered, and then destroyed, by ongoing changes from the White House staff. In 2008, the program’s ballooning costs and requirements got a temporary reprieve when US Navy agreed to proceed with the VH-71, despite a cost per aircraft equal or greater than the President’s Air Force One 747s. By June 2009, however, the VH-71 program had shot itself down.

Another round of competition is on the way, and back in 2009 the Pentagon said it was considering buying 2 different helicopters in the VXX follow-on program. Faced with an initial Analysis of Alternatives deemed too expensive, the OSD accepted the Navy’s revised approach in May 2012, setting things in motion for a new program of record.

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