The United States Navy has announced that Sikorsky Aircraft has been selected to build the next fleet of Marine One helicopters for the office of the President.
The Defence department has been trying to upgrade the ageing fleet of helicopters for over a decade now, with Sikorsky nearly losing the contract to Lockheed Martin. With the selection comes a $1.24 billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract to modify, test and deliver six FAA-certified helicopters and two trainer simulators to the U.S. Marine Corps. Covering a period of performance into late 2020, the fixed price incentive firm contract is the initial step to providing, by 2023, a VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement fleet totalling 21 operational aircraft.
Ten nations currently fly the dual-engine, medium-lift S–92 helicopter for their head of state missions. Since 2004, Sikorsky has delivered more than 200 S–92 helicopters, predominantly to operators serving the worldwide offshore oil and gas industry, and for civil search and rescue.
Out of the six contracted aircraft, two will be designated Engineering Development Models, enabling the Department of the Navy at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland to test the platform’s flight performance and mission communication system capabilities as certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Sikorsky is contracted to deliver the two EDM aircraft during 2018.
The remaining four aircraft will perform operational test and evaluation, and then transition to operational status. Sikorsky will deliver two training simulators (one each for maintainers and pilots) ahead of aircraft deliveries in 2018. By early 2019, the Navy is expected to place orders for the first of three lots of 17 production aircraft. Sikorsky expects to complete delivery of these production aircraft by 2023.