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Navy awards $479 million contract for final 5 presidential helicopters

Marine One helicopter. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/TNS)

Sikorsky Aircraft has announced a $479 million contract for the manufacture of the final five of 23 presidential helicopters assigned to the Marine Corps.

The Stratford-based subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp. is under contract to manufacture 23 VH-92A presidential helicopters. Sikorsky says it’s on schedule to deliver the next generation helicopter later this year.

“This aircraft has a special place in the hearts of our employees who treasure the legacy and look forward to watching the new White Top enter service,” Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo, said, referring to the white top over the green craft.

The award announced by the U.S. Navy for five aircraft is the final lot of presidential helicopters set to be delivered in 2023. Sikorsky workers are completing final modifications on 12 of the production aircraft at its manufacturing facility in Stratford and Owego, New York.

The contract includes two cabin interior reconfiguration kits, support equipment, initial spares, contractor support and system parts replenishment.

The VH-92A will transport the president and vice president and other officials. Sikorsky helicopters have transported every chief executive since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Sikorsky announced in 2014 a $1.2 billion contract to build the next fleet of “Marine One” presidential helicopters, ending a yearslong effort to return the high-profile aerospace project to Connecticut.

Sikorsky was then a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. and was sold a year later to Lockheed Martin. The state’s congressional delegation lobbied the Pentagon to end a previous contract with Lockheed Martin and Europe-based AugustaWestland after cost overruns nearly doubled the price of the program and saw it fall six years behind schedule.

Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, citing cost, canceled Lockheed Martin contracts in 2009 for a helicopter to carry the president and a communications satellite.


(c) 2021 The Hartford Courant

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