The U.S. Navy yesterday announced that Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., has been selected to build the next fleet of Marine One helicopters for the Office of the U.S. President.
With the selection comes 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. Covering a period of performance into late 2020, the fixed price incentive firm contract is the initial step to providing, by 2023, a VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement fleet totaling 21 operational aircraft.
“We are honored by this news and the vote of confidence in the Sikorsky team and the proven S-92 platform,” said 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.”
Ten nations currently fly the dual-engine, medium-lift S-92 helicopter for their head of state missions. Since 2004, Sikorsky has delivered more than 200 S-92 helicopters, predominantly to operators serving the worldwide offshore oil and gas industry, and for civil search and rescue.
Sikorsky submitted its VXX proposal for an existing, in-production helicopter platform to the Navy in August 2013, following a Request for Proposals in May of the same year.
Of the six contracted aircraft, two will be designated Engineering Development Models (EDM), enabling the Department of the Navy at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland to test the platform’s flight performance and mission communication system capabilities as certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Sikorsky is contracted to deliver the two EDM aircraft during 2018.
The remaining four aircraft — 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 each for maintainers and pilots) ahead of aircraft deliveries in 2018.
By early 2019, the Navy is expected to place orders for the first of three lots of 17 production aircraft. Sikorsky expects to complete delivery of these production aircraft by 2023.
The Sikorsky team will produce the aircraft in four distinct stages.
1. Assembly of the baseline “commercial off-the-shelf” flight-certified aircraft will occur at the company’s S-92 production facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia.
2. At a secure facility in its Stratford, Connecticut, headquarters, Sikorsky will perform aircraft modifications to meet the requirements of the presidential mission.
3. Later, at a secure facility in Owego, New York principal subcontractor Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training will install the integrated communications and mission systems.
4. When aircraft are returned to Stratford, Sikorsky will install the presidential interior into the 6-foot-high by 20-foot-long by 6.5-foot-wide cabin, and deliver the completed aircraft to the U.S. Navy.
Press Release, May 8, 2014; Image: Sikorsky