The U.S. Navy selected Sikorsky Aircraft to build a new fleet of Marine One helicopters for the Office of the President, a contract that includes a $1.24-billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract to modify, test and deliver six FAA-certified S-92® helicopters and two trainer simulators to the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sikorsky Aircraft is United Technologies Corp. subsidiary.
The first new model will be delivered by 2020. Following that, the fixed-price, incentive firm contract would put Sikorsky in place to supply a total fleet of 21 operational aircraft (known as the “VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement”) by 2023.
Sikorsky proposed its new VXX design to the Navy last summer, based on the S-92 helicopter platform currently in production. Over 200 S-92 helicopters have been delivered since 2004, mainly for use by offshore oil-and-gas operations, and in civil search and rescue programs. More significant, 10 nations currently fly the dual-engine, medium-lift S-92 helicopter for their head of state missions.
“We are honored by this news and the vote of confidence in the Sikorsky team and the proven S-92 platform,” stated Sikorsky president Mick Maurer. “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. We are proud of our record and the bright future for our company. We stand ready to deliver the next Marine One, the world’s most advanced executive transport helicopter.”
Of the six aircraft stated in the current contract, two will be designated Engineering Development Models (EDM), that the Navy will test for flight performance and mission communication capabilities, as certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Those two aircraft will be delivered during 2018, for testing at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland
The other four helicopters — designated System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA) — will perform operational test and evaluation, and then transition to operational status.
Sikorsky will deliver two training simulators (one for maintainers, one for pilots) ahead of aircraft deliveries in 2018.
Beyond the six helicopters already contracted, Sikorsky stated the Navy would place the first order in a series of three lots early in 2019. The remaining 17 helicopters would be delivered by 2023.
The Sikorsky team will produce the aircraft in four distinct stages.
Assembly of the baseline flight-certified helicopter would be take place at Sikorsky’s S-92 plant in Coatesville, Pa. Modifications to meet the “Marine One” specifications would be completed at a secure operation in Stratford, Conn.
Later, at a secure facility in Owego, N.Y., Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training will install integrated communications and mission systems. After that, back at Stratford, Sikorsky will install the customized (6x20x6.5-ft / HxLxW) presidential interior, before delivery to the U.S. Navy.