The UK Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport (DfT) last week canceled the SAR-H search-and-rescue helicopter program after Soteria, the preferred bidder, acknowledged some employee misconduct. The Royal Bank of Scotland has left the Soteria consortium, which now regroups operator CHC, training and aircraft equipment specialist Thales and helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky.
SH-3 Sea King
The Soteria consortium, which consists of operator CHC, training and aircraft equipment specialist Thales, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and
helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky, was expecting the new UK Tory-LibDem
Some aircraft fulfill their missions so well that they seem to last almost forever. The Sikorsky S-61/H-3 Sea King helicopter, the prototype of which made its first flight way back in 1959, appears on its way to achieving this “never die” status.
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday issued a request for information (RFI) for the helicopter that will possibly begin to replace the current fleet of “Marine One” Sikorsky VH-3Ds and VH-60Ns between 2017 and 2023.
The future of the VH-71 presidential helicopter program neared the wire last month as Congress worked to pass a final 2010 defense appropriations bill that the President would sign before the start of the fiscal year on October 1. If the bill is not signed into law by then, Congress would need to pass a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the Department of Defense. As AIN went to press, the bill had not yet become law.
In an apparent effort to assuage British pressure to adopt the Anglo-Italian EH-101 as the follow-on to the White House’s aged fleet of Sikorsky VH-3S operated as Marine One for Presidential transport, Sikorsky has quietly agreed to add some British content to the S-92s it would modify for that mission.
When it comes to selling helicopters for one of the leading helo makers, it’s difficult to find a job that Jeff Pino hasn’t done. In his 17 years with Bell, he was vice president of sales and marketing, executive director for Europe, director for Latin America and regional manager for South America.
The U.S. Navy has temporarily halted “Increment 2” development of the VH-71 Marine One presidential helicopter replacement program and is reevaluating available options. However, Pentagon officials say the current contract remains in effect.
Pentagon sources confirmed to AIN that Lockheed Martin has been ordered to stop work on the development of a second block of AW-101-variant helicopters scheduled to join the U.S. presidential fleet in 2015, while the Department of Defense reassesses the program and perhaps seeks alternatives that could include the Sikorsky S-92. When the President is aboard, these helicopters are designated “Marine One.”
The long-anticipated decision as to which helicopter would next carry the U.S. President was always going to leave one contender reaping the spoils and the other licking its wounds. In the end, it came down to a decision to go with the Lockheed Martin US101, a helicopter largely of British and Italian design.