Boeing Joining The Competition For New Presidential Helicopter
Everyone has heard of Air Force One before - the President’s personal airplane - but not everyone has heard of its relative, Marine One – the President’s personal helicopter. Currently, the helicopter that is sanctioned to operate as Marine One is getting considered older, and in need of updating, which is why a lot of major aviation companies are trying to join the competition to decide who will take it! With the precision of Boeing helicopter parts, and their need for less helicopter maintenance and overhaul, it is hard to imagine that this prestigious company won’t win!
Just a couple months ago, Boeing licensed the rights to AgustaWestland’s AW101 for the purpose of entering it in the newest U.S. presidential helicopter competition, named VXX. With the deal, Boeing will have all the data, intellectual property, and production rights for the three-engine, medium-lift helicopter.
Boeing hopes to win the competition and has stated that if it does, it will produce all helicopters at one of its US facilities. This is a major change for Boeing, and its cancelled VH-71 program, which was using Boeing helicopter parts - AW101 airframe – that was assembled in the United Kingdom.
The entry from Boeing will be competing with other helicopters from notable companies like Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin. The union of Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin will be using the H-92, a military version of the medium-twin Sikorsky S-92A, to try and oust its competition from Boeing.
Who exactly will win the “race” is still left up in the air though. The competition is running strong and likely it will come down to key factors like the reliability and performance for the helicopters. Since Marine One operates with a host of identical, duplicate helicopters (so no one knows exactly which one the president is flying in) a big factor in the decision will likely be the amount of helicopter maintenance and overhaul that the varying ‘copters require in the long run.
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