STRATFORD, Conn. – The assembly, test and evaluation of the new presidential helicopter is set to take place at Stratford's Sikorsky Aircraft.
The joint Sikorsky and Naval Air Systems Command helicopter program team met in July with key collaborators from government and industry for an in-depth design review. Throughout the review the program team successfully demonstrated that the design meets the system requirements.
“This milestone is an important achievement for our program and demonstrates Sikorsky and NAVAIR are well aligned,” said Spencer Elani, Sikorsky director, helicopter program. “We got here by completing several milestones on or ahead of schedule. We are committed to staying on that track as we head into the building phase of the program.”
The U.S. Navy awarded a $1.24 billion contract with production options to Sikorsky in May of 2014, for 21 operational and two test aircraft. Initial fielding is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023. Under the contract, Sikorsky will use its production aircraft and integrate government defined mission systems and an executive interior.
“This is an important step forward in the replacement of our presidential fleet of helicopters. The successful CDR demonstrates this helicopter system meets the requirements of the USMC and gives them exceptional mission performance from a platform that is affordable and supportable for this important mission,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office.
Two Engineering Development Model aircrafts are undergoing the modification process in Stratford. First flight of a configured aircraft is planned for 2017. The helicopter will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials. Sikorsky brings experience and a track record to the mission having flown every United States commander-in-chief since President Dwight D. Eisenhower.