Lockheed Martin Details Design for Next Presidential Helicopter
OWEGO, NY, 26-JUN-03 -- Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] delivered this week to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Patuxent River, MD, a 600-page plan demonstrating how the US101 medium-lift helicopter can be configured to transport the President of the United States by 2007. The study defines an initial operational configuration and future enhancements and performance options for the aircraft. The study will enable NAVAIR to move forward with procurement of the next Marine One helicopter.
Lockheed Martin was placed under contract for the study after the White House in December 2002 asked the Office of the Secretary of Defense to field an initial replacement helicopter fleet for the President by 2007. The new program, designated VXX, aims to replace the existing Marine One VH-3D Sea King helicopters with a modern platform. NAVAIR is responsible for procurement of the presidential helicopter fleet, which is flown and maintained exclusively by Marine Helicopter Squadron-One (HMX-1).
Lockheed Martin and a joint venture company consisting of AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopter are collaborating to manufacture the US101 in the United States. Lockheed Martin, as prime contractor and systems integrator, will have overall responsibility for the program and delivery of the US101 helicopter to the customer.
Stephen D. Ramsey, vice president of Aerospace Solutions at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego, said NAVAIR received an extensively detailed document that demonstrates how the US101 platform can be configured to satisfy the rigorous requirements of the VXX program by 2007.
We defined how we would take a robust, off-the-shelf aircraft with an excellent safety record and proven maturity, and configure it for the presidential mission, said Ramsey. Because we are starting from an established baseline configuration already in production, we were able to show how the US101 is a low risk, high performance answer for this important mission.
Stephen C. Moss, president of AgustaWestland Inc., said the US101 aircraft's large stand-up cabin, and quiet, low-vibration ride make the aircraft an ideal platform for the VXX mission, while its three engines ensure superior power, speed and range. Extraordinary levels of safety, reliability, availability and maintainability are other primary reasons why the platform has found ready markets with five NATO countries and the Japanese armed forces.
Moss said the aircraft fleet is mature, having accumulated nearly 40,000 flight hours to date around the world. By 2007, it is anticipated the platform will have exceeded 130,000 flight hours, he said.