Lockheed Martin has completed the critical design review (CDR) phase of the VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. With the design milestone completed, the program now moves to assembly, test and evaluation of the helicopter, the manufacturer announced on July 25.
The U.S. Navy awarded Sikorsky Aircraft a $1.24 billion contract in May 2014 to begin engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the new presidential aircraft, a modified version of Sikorsky’s S-92 twin-engine medium helicopter. Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky last November for $9 billion.
According to the announcement, a joint VH-92A program team representing Sikorsky and the Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) conducted the review in July with other industry and government participants.
“This milestone is an important achievement for our program and demonstrates Sikorsky and Navair are well aligned,” said Spencer Elani, Sikorsky’s VH-92A program director. “We got here by completing several milestones on or ahead of schedule,” he added. “We are committed to staying on that track as we head into the building phase of the program.”
The 2014 contract included production options calling for Sikorsky to deliver 21 operational and two test aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps for the presidential transport mission. Two EMD aircraft are being modified at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Conn. facility, with the first flight of a VH-92A configured helicopter planned for next year.
“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 Marine Col. Robert Pridgen, Navair’s presidential helicopter program manager.
Initial fielding of the VH-92A is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023, Lockheed Martin said.