From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program (VXX)
A Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N
General information
Project forPresidential transport helicopter
Issued byUnited States Navy[1]
ServiceUnited States Marine Corps
ProposalsLockheed Martin US-101
Sikorsky VH-92[2]
PrototypesLockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel
Sikorsky VH-92
RequirementVXX Mission Needs Statement (September 16, 1999)
InitiatedDecember 18, 2003 (RFP)[3]
ConcludedApril 6, 2009[4]
OutcomeRound 1: Lockheed Martin VH-71 Kestrel selected for production, but result protested, VH-71 canceled[5]
Round 2: Sikorsky VH-92 Patriot
A VH-71 test aircraft at Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, October 2005
A developmental Sikorsky VH-92A helicopter conducts landing and take-off testing at the White House South Lawn in September 2018

VXX, officially the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program, is a procurement program to replace aging Marine One helicopters that transport the President of the United States. The current VH-3 helicopters have aging airframes, having entered service with United States Marine Corps Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) in 1963. The VH-3D replaced the VH-3A by 1976.[6] The smaller VH-60N entered service in 1987.[7] On 7 May 2014, it was announced that the Sikorsky VH-92 had won the VXX competition.[8]


The September 11 attacks on the U.S. led to widespread agreement that the Marine One helicopter fleet needed significant upgrades to its communication, transportation, and security systems. But these could not be made due to the weight already added to the aircraft.[9] In 2002, it was proposed to replace the current helicopters. The U.S. Department of Defense issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the VXX helicopter on 18 December 2003 for the supply of 23 helicopters to replace the eleven VH-3Ds and eight VH-60Ns of USMC HMX-1 squadron. In November 2002, the White House asked the Secretary of Defense to accelerate the development of the new aircraft, and DOD said it would have a new aircraft ready by the end of 2008.[9] To do so, DOD asked bidders to begin development and production at the same time.[10]

AgustaWestland and Sikorsky responded to the RFP. Sikorsky proposed the VH-92, a variant of the H-92 Superhawk. On January 28, 2005 the Department of Defense announced that it had selected the US101 for the VXX program. The US101 team was awarded a US$1.7 billion contract for the VXX system development and demonstration (SDD) phase.[11] The Lockheed Martin and AgustaWestland AW101-based US101 bid was given the military designation VH-71 Kestrel in mid-2005.[12]

The replacement cost of the fleet was estimated at $6.1 billion when the VH-71 contracts were signed in 2005. However, by March 2008 the cost of the new 28 helicopter fleet was projected to total US$11.2 billion, or roughly US$400 million per helicopter.[13][14] Political controversy began in February 2009 amid calls for fiscal restraint, and, as a result, President Barack Obama announced that he had instructed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to review the helicopter situation and on 6 April 2009, Gates announced the ending of VH-71 funding, after nine aircraft had already been built at a cost of about US$600 million each.[4]

In February 2010, the U.S. Navy issued a request for information (RFI) to the aviation industry. Responses would be used to restart the VXX contest.[5] In April 2010, Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin announced they would team in offering the VH-92.[15][16] In June, Boeing announced it was considering a licensed version of the AgustaWestland AW101, on which the VH-71 was based, to be built in the United States. Boeing was also considering the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey and Boeing CH-47 Chinook for the presidential VXX program.[17][18][19] Whichever platform were picked would be expected to be delivered between 2017 and 2023.[20]

On 23 November 2012, Naval Air Systems Command released a draft request for proposals for a new VXX program.[21] The new requirements lowered the number of people the helicopter had to carry, shortened its range, and simplified its communications. By mid-2013, Boeing, Bell Helicopter and AgustaWestland declined to take part in the project. Only Sikorsky seemed likely to bid on the VXX contract.[22]

On 7 May 2014, the Navy announced that the Sikorsky VH-92 had won the VXX competition, ahead of other potential competitors who decided not to submit a proposal.[8] Subsequent to the VXX competition affairs, in November 2015, Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A--VXX Program System Development & Demonstration (SDD) Phase". FedBizOpps. August 26, 2003. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012.
  2. ^ Cortes, Lorenzo. "Navy Likely To Delay VXX Decision Until Next Year". Defense Daily, November 17, 2004.
  3. ^ Cortes, Lorenzo. "Navy Issues Formal RFP For Presidential Transport Replacement". Defense Daily, December 22, 2003.
  4. ^ a b "Pentagon Seeks Defense Budget "Overhaul"". CBS News. Associated Press. April 6, 2009. Archived from the original on January 13, 2024.
  5. ^ a b Trimble, Stephen (February 18, 2010). "New VXX competition reveals changes for US presidential helicopter". FlightGlobal. Archived from the original on April 22, 2021.
  6. ^ "VH-3D Sea King Helicopter". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on January 28, 2023.
  7. ^ McCurdy, Christen (February 19, 2020). "Sikorsky lands $470.8M deal for presidential helicopter upgrade". United Press International. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Majumdar, Dave (May 7, 2014). "Sikorsky Wins $1.24 Billion Contract for Presidential Helo". U.S. Naval Institute. Archived from the original on September 23, 2023. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "GAO-11-380R, "Defense Acquisitions: Application of Lessons Learned and Best Practices in the Presidential Helicopter Program" (PDF). U.S. Government Accountability Office. March 25, 2011. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 9, 2023. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  10. ^ Aitoro, Jill R. (March 28, 2011). "Failed helicopter program, revisited". Washington Business Journal. Archived from the original on April 1, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  11. ^ "Lockheed Martin to Build New Presidential Helicopter". U.S. Department of Defense. January 28, 2005. Archived from the original on January 31, 2005.
  12. ^ Kreisher, Otto (February 1, 2012). "The Saga of Marine One". Air & Space Forces Magazine. Archived from the original on December 1, 2022. Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  13. ^ Baker, Peter (March 27, 2008). "Cost Nearly Doubles For Marine One Fleet". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012.
  14. ^ Bruno, Michael; Fulghum, David A. (March 17, 2008). "Executive Branch Strikes VH-71 Deal". Aviation Week. Archived from the original on October 19, 2011.
  15. ^ "Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin Announce Teaming Agreement to Compete for the VXX Presidential Helicopter Program". Lockheed Martin. April 19, 2010. Archived from the original on May 1, 2010.
  16. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. (April 19, 2010). "Former Competitors Join Forces for Helo Program". Defense News. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Fein, Geoff (April 20, 2010). "Bell-Boeing V-22 Latest Entry For Navy's Presidential Helo RFI". Defense Daily. Archived from the original on December 5, 2020.
  18. ^ Reed, John (May 5, 2010). "Boeing to make new multiyear Osprey offer". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  19. ^ Trimble, Stephen (June 8, 2010). "Boeing says AW101 one of its three options for VXX". FlightGlobal. Archived from the original on September 26, 2023. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  20. ^ Sanborn, James K. (May 11, 2011). "New helos, Osprey heading for HMX-1". Marine Corps Times. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  21. ^ "Request for proposals issued in VXX Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program". Vertical Magazine. May 6, 2013. Archived from the original on January 13, 2024. Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  22. ^ Drew, Christopher (July 28, 2013). "Few Suitors to Build a New Marine One". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 19, 2023.

External links[edit]