Sikorksy Aircraft, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has completed the critical design review (CDR) of the VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Programme.

The programme is now ready to proceed to assembly, test and evaluation phases.

The joint Sikorsky / Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) VH-92A helicopter programme team was able to successfully demonstrate the design, which was suited to the system requirements.

Naval Air System Command presidential helicopter programme office programme manager and US Marine Corps colonel Robert Pridgen said: “This is an important step forward in the replacement of our presidential fleet of helicopters.

“The successful CDR demonstrates this helicopter system meets the requirements of the USMC and gives them exceptional mission performance from a platform that is affordable and supportable for this important mission.”

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Sikorsky was awarded a $1.24bn fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract in 2014 by the US Navy for 21 operational and two test aircraft to replace the existing fleet.

Production under the contract is expected to be completed in 2023, while initial fielding is set to take place in 2020.

"The successful CDR demonstrates this helicopter system meets the requirements of the USMC and gives them exceptional mission performance."

Under the project, Sikorsky will use its in-production FAA certified S-92 aircraft and integrate government-defined mission systems and install an executive interior.

The VH-92A will be used to provide safe and reliable helicopter transportation for the US President and Vice-President and other officials.

Sikorsky is conducting the modification process on two engineering development model (EDM) aircraft at its Stratford, Connecticut, with the first flight of a VH-92A configured aircraft planned next year.

Image: Artist’s rendition of VH-92A aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.