‘Boeing 101’ Proposed as Presidential Helicopter
Yesterday, Boeing licensed the rights to AgustaWestland’s AW101 for the purpose of entering it in the latest U.S. presidential helicopter competition, known as VXX. Under the deal, Boeing will have full data, intellectual property and production rights for the three-engine, medium-lift helicopter. Boeing said it intends to provide the Navy, the contracting agency, with all necessary information on the helicopter by the June 18 deadline. Boeing said that if it wins the contract all helicopters will be produced at one of its U.S. facilities–a marked change from the canceled VH-71 program, which used an AW101 airframe assembled in the UK. The new Boeing entry will be competing with that from a Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin team which is fielding the H-92, a military version of the medium-twin Sikorsky S-92A. European aerospace and defense consortium EADS, parent of Airbus and Eurocopter, formally noted Boeing’s selection of European technology for the competition and sharply referenced its continuing and heated competition with Boeing on the USAF KC-X aerial tanker replacement program. EADS said it expects Boeing to “cease its shrill rhetoric” concerning EADS’s attempt to win the KC-X, given Boeing’s selection of the AW101.