Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, a division of United Technologies, has won an initial $1.24bn contract to develop and build six US presidential helicopters, with plans to develop a 21-strong fleet by 2023.
Following the announcement of the deal announced yesterday by the Pentagon, Sikorsky said the specialist aircraft would be based on the company’s S-92; a twin-engined, medium-lift model that it says is used as a head of state transport by 10 countries.
Sikorsky, who was the only bidder for the lucrative contract, has agreed to partner with fellow defense contractor Lockheed Martin on the contract.
— Lockheed Martin (@LockheedMartin) May 7, 2014
According to defence publication Jane’s, AgustaWestland and Northrop Grumman, which had planned to offer the AW101 Merlin, decided to pull out of the bid after reviewing the Request for Proposal (RfP). Boeing, which could have offered a version of its H-47 Chinook or its V-22 Osprey, also decided not to tender for the contract.
The project will commence this year with $42 million in funding to be allocated to research, development, test and evaluation.
In addition to the six initial aircraft to be delivered to the US Marine Corps, Sikorsky will also deliver two simulators, said the company.
Two of the six aircraft will be engineering development models which will be used by military personnel to test the aircraft’s flight performance and mission communications systems, said Sikorsky.
— Sikorsky Aircraft (@SikorskyAircrft) May 7, 2014
According to Sikorsky, the company has delivered more than 200 S-92s to customers worldwide. Operators include offshore oil and gas companies and civilian search and rescue agencies.