PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy helicopter aviation experts are ordering five new VH-92A presidential helicopters for the U.S. president and other high-ranking government dignitaries under terms of an order announced Friday worth nearly a half-billion dollars.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company in Stratford, Conn., to build five low-rate initial production lot three presidential helicopters in a $478.6 million contract modification.
The Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin VH-92 will replace the U.S. Marine Corps VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters that transport the U.S. president, while operating under the name of Marine One. The VH-92 presidential helicopter has an executive interior and military mission support avionics, including triple electrical power and redundant cockpit flight controls.
This contract includes interim contractor support, two cabin interior reconfiguration kits, support equipment, spare parts, and system parts replenishment in support of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. These helicopters are part of the 23-aircraft program of record for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Navy awarded a $470.8 million order to Sikorsky one year ago for six lot two VH-92A presidential helicopters, and in June 2019 ordered six lot one presidential helicopters.
Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the first six VH-92A helicopters this year. The remaining production aircraft will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, Sikorsky officials say. The VH-92A will fly the president, vice president, and foreign heads of state.
Commercial versions of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter primarily are for offshore operations such as transporting crews and supplies to and from offshore oil rigs, as well as for search and rescue (SAR).
The VH-92A is powered by GE Aviation’s CT7-86A engine, which is built at GE’s facility in Lynn, Mass. The helicopter also has the ARC-244A digital FM radio -- a repackaged Motorola Astro XTS-5000 digital portable radio with high power amplifier with microprocessor-controlled variable frequency tuning with AES-256 encrypted secure digital voice or analog voice communications. A remote terminal on a MIL-STD 1553 avionics databus controls this radio.
The VH-92A also has full-duplex send/receive satellite communications (SATCOM) capability with two Collins Aerospace ARC-210 radios. Its integrated airborne Wi-Fi system uses a Wi-Fi router and a small server with Ethernet capability.
The VH-92A helicopter has a pilot and co-pilot, and can fly 19 passengers. It is 56 feet long, 15.5 feet high, and has a roter diameter of 56.4 feet. It can carry 11,000 pounds of passengers, fuel, and cargo, and uses a four-blade rotor.
The aircraft can fly as fast as 165 knots, cruises at 151 knots, and has a range of 539 nautical miles. It can fly as high as 14,000 feet above sea level.
On this order Sikorsky will do the work in Stratford, Conn.; Coatesville, Pa.; Owego, N.Y.; Patuxent River, Md.; Phoenix; and Quantico, Va., and should be finished by December 2023. For more information contact Sikorsky Aircraft online at www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/capabilities/sikorsky.html, or Naval Air Systems Command at https://www.navair.navy.mil/.