The VH-71 presidential helicopter program, which was terminated in May by the Secretary of Defense, received life support on December 19 when the President signed the FY2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. Earlier last year, Obama had threatened to veto the bill if it contained funding for the program.
Limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the three-engine AgustaWestland AW101, has made it into the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3326), reviving the machine’s chances of one day flying the President. At the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon terminated the program on May 15 last year.
With little fanfare on Saturday, the Senate approved and President Obama subsequently signed the final FY2010 U.S. defense appropriations bill. The $636.3 billion bill includes limited funding for the Lockheed Martin/AgustaWestland VH-71 presidential helicopter, which is based on the triple-engine AgustaWestland AW101.
Capitol Hill observers expect the House and Senate conference committee on defense appropriations to issue its final report this week. In it could be included some $129 million designated for the VH-71 presidential helicopter program.