04 MAY, 2018
BY: GARRETT REIM
Sikorksy’s VH-92A replacement helicopters for the President’s Marine One fleet are on schedule and slightly below previous cost estimates by 2.4%, or about $123 million.
Cost reductions came from a small number of design changes, stable requirements and efficiencies from cost saving initiatives, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.
The US Navy plans to acquire a fleet of 23 VH-92A helicopters to replace the Marine Corps’ existing fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters. Initial delivery of the helicopters is scheduled to begin in fiscal 2020 with production ending in fiscal 2023.
The total development and procurement costs for the Presidential Helicopter programme is estimated at $5.1 billion, according to the GAO.
Despite steady progress, the GAO did highlight potential issues with landing the new Marine One helicopter on the White House South Lawn.
“The lawn is a highly visible, size-constrained landing zone where damage to the White House grounds needs to be minimised,” said the GAO report. “Currently, however, the programme is not meeting a key system capability requirement to land the aircraft without adversely affecting the landing zone (including the White House Lawn).”
The GAO did not specify what problems the VH-92A had with landing on the White House grounds. However, the programme is expected to implement a solution about five months after the start of production, though there is a possibility of increased cost and schedule delays if Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky has to retrofit aircraft after production is complete, according to the GAO.
The S-92 medium-lift twin-engine helicopter is manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The S-92 is an evolution of Sikorsky’s S-70 US Army Black Hawk and US Navy Seahawk helicopters and is available in a 19-seat passenger commercial, a 22 troop utility and a number of mission-specific configurations including search and rescue (SAR), government and VIP transportation.
The S-92 took its maiden flight in December 1998 at the Sikorsky Development Flight Centre, West Palm Beach, Florida. FAA FAR part 29 certification was received in December 2002. European Aviation Safety Agency / Joint Aviation Authorities (EASA/JAA) certification was received in June 2004.
The first S-92 was delivered to launch customer Petroleum Helicopters Inc (PHI) in September 2004. PHI has ordered six helicopters for offshore oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Orders have been received for more than 75 helicopters, including: Cougar Helicopter (up to five), Era Aviation (three), Aircontactgruppen AS of Norway (six), Copterline of Finland, East Asia Airlines / Helicopter Hong Kong (one), CHC Helicopter Corp. of Canada (three), the government of Turkmenistan (two for presidential transport, delivery 2005-06), Gulf Helicopters (one for VVIP), Washington Times Aviation (five), the government of Turkey (one for VVIP), Irish Air Corps (three plus two options), Norsk Helikopter (four for offshore oil), Brunei Shell Petroleum (three), Eastern General Aviation (one) and Bristow Group (11). By the end of 2009, approximately 100 S-92 helicopters had been delivered. Source: aerospace-technology.com
Published on Aug 16, 2017
This is the helicopter that will replace Marine One