According to the Pentagon, « this modification exercises an option for the procurement of six Low Rate Initial Production Lot 1 Presidential Helicopters, as well as interim contractor support, initial spares, support equipment, and system parts replenishment ».
Work will be performed in various places within the US and is expected to be completed in April 2022. These six VH-92A helicopters follow the three aircraft the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) have already acquired for testing.
The contract award follows an affirmative Milestone C decision on May 30 from the U.S. Navy moving the development program into production.
“The authorization to exercise the program’s first Low-Rate Initial Production lot is a testament to the hard work and dedication from the team to deliver this important asset on budget and within the planned acquisition timeline” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Eric Ropella, PMA-274 presidential helicopter program manager. “This award is an example of acquisition done right.”
The VH-92A aircraft will replace the current US Marine Corps fleet of VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters flown by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) to perform the presidential airlift mission. The Navy plans to replace this fleet with 23 new helicopters.
The VH-92A IOC is expected for 2020, and the full production line is on track to complete in 2023.
Lockheed Martin delivered and installed the first VH-92A training device at the Presidential Helicopter Squadron HMX-1 in Quantico, Virginia, earlier this year, the company stated. Marine pilots, avionics technicians and squadron personnel are actively engaged in hands-on learning through the suite of devices. The Flight Training Device (FTD) is a replica of the VH-92A cockpit to give pilots mission-oriented flight training in a simulation-based training device.