The US President is to get a fleet of new helicopters, the VH-92A Presidential Helicopter, a modified version of the S-92, after it passed its flight test program and was approved for production by the US Navy.
The US President’s fleet consists of 35 vehicles, primarily the ageing Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King and smaller VH-60N “White Hawk”. The aircraft are operated by the Presidential Helicopter Squadron HMX-1, which is based in Quantico, Virginia.
Sikorsky were given the go-ahead to build six new VH-92A Presidential Helicopters to replace the Sea Kings by the US Navy at the end of May. Under the contract the first will be delivered between 2021 and 2023.
The VH-92A test aircraft at Patuxent River, Maryland has undergone rigorous US government testing and operational assessments, including operating on the south lawn of the White House. The test aircraft has flown over 520 flight test hours to establish the aircraft’s technical maturity and readiness of its mission systems.
Dave Banquer, Sikorsky VH-92A program director said, “This production decision validates the modifications to Sikorsky’s most successful commercial helicopter, making it capable to transport the President of the United States at anytime, anywhere around the world.
“Sikorsky has been building and providing helicopter transportation for every US President and Commander in Chief since Dwight D. Eisenhower. We are excited to build the next generation of transport with the VH-92A helicopter.”
Sikorsky and the US Navy have integrated mission and communication systems into the aircraft. Lockheed Martin, Sikorsky’s parent company has also delivered and installed the first VH-92A training device at HMX-1’s base.
The training device includes a replica of the VH-92A cockpit to give pilots mission-oriented flight training in a simulations and avionics technicians and squadron personnel the opportunity to hone their skills to effectively maintain the aircraft and practice troubleshooting.