The presidential helicopter replacement program recently executed a successful critical design review of the VH-92A, Lockheed Martin announced Monday. The July review showed the design of the modified Sikorsky S-92A meets the system requirements, and the program to deliver the next Marine One is now ready for the assembly, test, and evaluation phase, according to a Lockheed release. The Navy awarded Sikorsky—which was acquired by Lockheed Martin in November 2015—a $1.24 billion contract in May 2014 for an expected total of 23 aircraft by 2023. Spencer Elani, Sikorsky’s director of the VH-92A helicopter program, called this month’s milestone an “important achievement” and said Sikorsky has already completed several milestones on or ahead of schedule and is “committed to staying on that track as we head into the building phase of the program,” according to the release. Two aircraft, engineering development models, are currently undergoing modification, and a first flight is planned for 2017. Initial fielding of the replacement fleet is expected in 2020. (See also The Saga of Marine One from the February 2012 issue of Air Force Magazine.)
President Joe Biden is nominating Air Force Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot to add a fourth star and succeed Gen. Glen D. VanHerck as the head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)—one of several high-level nominations the Pentagon announced May 31.