Sikorsky has signed a $1.24bn contract to build the new Marine One helicopter fleet for the Office of the President, which will replace the existing fleet.
The fixed-price incentive-firm target contract has been awarded by the US Navy for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement programme.
In addition to the procurement of six test aircraft, the contract includes the supply of associated support equipment, integration of mature-government defined mission systems, a training system, including a flight training device and a maintenance training device, logistics, engineering, and test and evaluation support.
As part of the programme, Sikorsky, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, will modify, test and deliver six FAA-certified dual-engine, medium-lift S-92 helicopters, in addition to two trainer simulators to the US Marine Corps.
Of the initial six aircraft, two will be delivered by 2018. They will be used to assess the flight performance and mission communications of the S-92, with four of them then being transformed to operational status, while simulators will be deployed to train pilots and flight crews.
Spanning a period of performance into late 2020, this latest contract is the first step toward a VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement fleet of 21 new aircraft by 2023.
The order for the first of three lots of 17 production aircraft is anticipated by 2019, with delivery expected in 2023.
Lockheed Martin's work under the programme also includes systems integration, installation of the mission equipment and communications systems, advanced capabilities and an executive aircraft paint job at its Owego facility.
Assembly of the helicopters will be performed at Sikorsky's S-92 production facility in Pennsylvania, which will then be sent to its Connecticut facility to carry out modifications prior to the installation of integrated communications and mission systems at another facility.
The final phase will involve installation of the presidential interior, complete with in-flight toilets.
The current fleet of presidential helicopters is comprised of Sikorsky Black Hawk/Sea King models, which are 35 and 40 years old respectively.
Image: Graphical renderings of the next Marine One presidential helicopter. Photo: courtesy of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.