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S-92 chosen as next US presidential helo

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 8, 2014
The Sikorsky VH-92 has been selected as the next US Presidential helicopter. (NAVAIR)
The Sikorsky VH-92 has been selected as the next US Presidential helicopter. (NAVAIR)

The Sikorsky S-92 has been named as the US Navy’s Presidential Helicopters Replacement Program (VXX) winner.

Sikorsky was the sole bidder for the program, and has been awarded a US$1.24bn (A$1.32bn) engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract to deliver two VH-92 development aircraft in 2018, and four operational evaluation aircraft.

The contract announcement says it will look to integrate “mature mission systems into an existing in-production aircraft in order to minimise the cost of developing and testing a new design,” in order to avoid a repeat of the previous failed VH-X effort to develop the EH-101.

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“We are honoured by this news and the vote of confidence in the Sikorsky team and the proven S-92 platform,” Sikorsky president Mick Maurer said in a statement. “For 57 years, our company has been trusted with the critical responsibility of building and supporting a safe and reliable helicopter fleet for the President of the United States.”

The final VXX requirement is for a 21 aircraft fleet to be in service by 2023 to replace the Marine Corps’ 11 VH-3D and eight VH-60N machines which entered service the 1970s and 1980s respectively.

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9 Comments

  • Raymond

    says:

    In a nutshell, why was the EH-101 / AW-101 / US-101 unsuccessful? Wasn’t just because it’s a non-US design?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      I think the NSA, DoD, Secret Service and other agencies all tried to put too much comms, EW etc gear onto the platform, and Lockheed couldn’t fully integrate it. Reports I’ve read claim it wasn’t the EH 101’s fault, rather the program had little inter-agency coordination which meant it was never going to work properly.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Raymond

    says:

    Thanks, so if it wasn’t the platform’s fault, I assume that this isn’t going to be a repeat problem with the S-92 / VH-92 then? Have they agreed on less extras this time around or do they have a roadmap for more coordination? Otherwise just changing the platform isn’t going to solve anything…

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      As the article says, they’re looking at integrating “mature mission systems into an existing in-production aircraft in order to minimise the cost of developing and testing a new design…”, so I would think they’re aware of the issues.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • John N

    says:

    Pretty well a forgone conclusion, especially when Sikorsky was the only player in the game!!

    I read recently that the two other possible contenders were the teams from Northrop Grumman-AgustaWestland and Bell-Boeing, but both declined to bid after studying the requirements.

    Hopefully for Sikorsky this version of the S-92 has less issues getting into service than the very troubled CH-148 version that Canada selected back in 2004, they were supposed to start deliveries in 2009, still a fair way to go with that project.

    Cheers,

    John N

  • Camster

    says:

    Isn’t the US Presidential helicopter called ‘Marine One’? If that is the case, then why is this the US Navy’s Presidential Helicopters Replacement Program and not the US Marine’s Presidential Helicopters Replacement Program.
    Is there something that I’m missing?

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      The Navy buys all the USMC’s equipment, and NAVAIR buys all the USMC’s aircraft.

      Cheers

      Andrew

  • Mick F

    says:

    Still smacks of ‘can only operate US made equip.’ Its the future tanker KC767/KC45 all over. Euro aircraft wins, then it has ‘issues’, rewrite the tender requirements and then only one comes to the party. EH101 was an in production aircraft, they were mature(ish) systems they wanted fitted into it. Lets see what happens when its time for Air Force One’s replacement…

  • Raymond

    says:

    Mick F – I think you’ll find the most likely contender for replacing ‘Air Force One’ / the VC-25’s, will be the 747-8, with Airbus aircraft highly unlikely.

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