May 7, 2014
Presidential Helo Contract Expected This Week
The only known bidder on the program is the team of Sikorsky Aircraft and Lockheed Martin, which is offering a souped-up version of Sikorsky’s S-92. The president flies in Sikorsky-made VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft.
The US government hopes to acquire up to 23 operational helicopters, with a 2020 operational date targeted.
Initially, the US Navy expected Sikorsky to be challenged by offerings from the teams of Northrop Grumman-AgustaWestland and Bell-Boeing. But after studying the requirements, both teams declined to participate in the program.
The Navy has been attempting to award the contract for the presidential helicopter, formally known as VXX, since the mid-2000s. Sikorsky actually lost to a team of Lockheed and AgustaWestland in 2005, before requirements creep led to increased costs and the eventual cancellation of that contract in 2009. The new competition was launched in November 2012.