Navy Requests Info for Next Presidential Helicopter
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday issued a request for information (RFI) for the helicopter that will possibly begin to replace the current fleet of “Marine One” Sikorsky VH-3Ds and VH-60Ns between 2017 and 2023. The RFI follows the termination of the VH-71 presidential helicopter program by the Pentagon last year and the subsequent approval of limited funds for “technology capture” of some of the $3.3 billion spent on that program by contractors Lockheed Martin, AgustaWestland and others. A Navy spokesperson told AIN, “The Navy is still assessing the best way to capture technology obtained from the [VH-71] presidential helicopters development programs as provided for by the FY2010 Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts.” Meanwhile, the Navy, the White House Military Office and the Office of the Secretary of Defense are working to develop options for a revised replacement helicopter program. According to a spokesman for AgustaWestland, “We are looking at the RFI and are confident that the AW101 is the right helicopter for the mission.” Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin did not immediately provide comment to AIN. Responding parties have until March 3 to submit a letter of interest and April 19 to submit their final responses to the Naval Air Systems Command.