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April 12, 2018

US Navy to buy 17 VH-92 presidential production helicopters

The US Navy is considering a proposal to purchase a full fleet of the new VH-92 presidential production helicopters, Marine Corps VH-92 programme manager Colonel Eric J. Ropella has announced.

The US Navy is considering a proposal to purchase a full fleet of the new VH-92 presidential production helicopters, Marine Corps VH-92 programme manager Colonel Eric J Ropella has announced.

Ropella said: “The proposal that we have is for a total of 17 aircraft to be purchased in three years.”

Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky is currently developing a total of six S-92 test aircraft under a $1.24bn fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, which was originally awarded by the US Navy in May 2014.

“Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky is currently developing a total of six S-92 test aircraft under a $1.24bn fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract.”

The new presidential helicopters are intended to replace the existing fleet of eight H-60Ns and 11 VH-3Ds.

Sikorsky successfully completed a preliminary design review (PDR) of the VH-92A presidential helicopter replacement programme in 2016 in support of the development.

The US Navy also conducted the maiden flights of the first two VH-92 test aircraft, EDMs 1 and 2, last year.

Both aircraft are currently undergoing painting and interior installation at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Owego, New York.

Ropella said: “Once we get the aircraft this summer, we will conduct government tests, mostly validating and verifying the [aircraft’s] unique requirements.”

In addition, pilots from the Marine Corps Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1 VH-92 operational test team are scheduled to conduct an operational assessment of the first two test aircraft by the end of this year.

The remaining four units are being converted from S-92s into fully configured VH-92 aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut, and are slated for delivery in mid-2019.

US Navy pilots are expected to undergo cadre training with a VH-92 training system next year, which will include the use of electronic courseware and simulators.

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