Sikorsky, Boeing eye US Navy's draft solicitation for presidential helicopter replacement programme
By Grace Jean
The US Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) release of a draft solicitation for the US Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program (VXX) has caught the attention of two defence contractors seeking to make a successful bid to build the aircraft.
Sikorsky, the builder of the current fleet of VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N Black Hawk presidential helicopters, and Boeing, the manufacturer of the CH-47 Chinook and the MV-22 Osprey in partnership with Bell Helicopter, are eyeing the VXX draft request for proposal (RfP) issued on 23 November. The RfP sets forth design criteria and requirements for a low-cost vertical-lift platform that will replace the VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters, which have been in service since the 1960s and the 1980s, respectively.
The navy is seeking to buy as many as 23 operational VXX helicopters, which will be flown by the US Marine Corps' Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) based at Quantico, Virginia. The rotorcraft would enter service in 2020, more than a decade later than the programme originally intended.
The US government is encouraging offerors to propose an existing, in-production helicopter platform in order to minimise aircraft development on the VXX programme.191 of 619 words
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