NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. --- The U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command is on schedule to begin flight testing later this year for the first two replacement aircraft for the Marine One presidential helicopter, an official said April 4.
“We’re going to break the deck with this thing this summer,” Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, presidential helicopter program manager for NAVAIR, told reporters at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference here.
Sikorsky Aircraft is providing the Marine Corps with 23 helicopters — including the two initial engineering development models — based off of its FAA-certified S-92 commercial aircraft under a $1.24 billion fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development contract, according to Lockheed Martin. The company acquired Sikorsky in 2015.
The VH-92A will replace the service’s current fleet of eight VH-60N and 11 VH-3D rotorcraft, and is expected to enter service with four operational aircraft and crews along with parts and support in 2020, Pridgen said.
“The day this aircraft hits the [White House] South Lawn, I don’t think you’ll see another aircraft,” he added.
The program office is currently developing a draft request for proposals for Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, in anticipation of a future low rate initial production decision to purchase the final 17 aircraft over the next three years, Pridgen said. (end of excerpt)
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