Navy’s Seeks New Presidential Helicopter by Decade’s End

The Navy plans to operate the new Presidential helicopter starting in 2020 based on the service’s solicitation for industry bids issued earlier this month. The request for proposals calls for a fixed-price development contract, with production options, according to the Naval Air Systems Command’s release. Bids are due within 90 days of the May 3 RFP, with a contract award anticipated by mid-2014, states the release. The Navy intends to field 21 VXX helicopters, including 17 built during the production phase and four of six test vehicles that will transition to operational aircraft. The service wants “a prime contractor that can best integrate mature subsystems into an air vehicle currently in production for an affordable solution that meets mission requirements,” said Capt. Dean Peters, VXX program manager. “We’re seeking a technically viable, cost-effective vertical-lift aircraft to replace the current fleet,” he said. Sikorsky announced its intent to bid its S-92 to be the VXX, together with industry partner Lockheed Martin. Northrop Grumman and AgustaWestland last fall announced plans to team and offer the latter’s AW101.