US President Joe Biden is expected to debut the new “Marine One”, the VH-92A helicopter supplied by Sikorsky, soon, according to White House officials.
Based on the civil model S-92, the new VIP helicopter has the mission to replace the old VH-3D (Sea King) and VH-60N, which have been in service for many years.
The contract signed with the US Navy in 2014 provides for the delivery of 17 helicopters, which will be used to transport officials in addition to the US President.
But the program has been experiencing unforeseen events since the first VH-92A took off in 2017. The following year, while carrying out tests at the White House, one of Sikorsky’s helicopters had fuel leaks, in addition to destroying part of the lawn of the official residence of the american president.
For this reason, the operational debut, scheduled for 2020, ended up being delayed. Now, members of the White House military cabinet plan to carry out the first flights with President Biden after announcing that the helicopter has achieved “initial operational capability”.
Despite this, the VH-92A should not be used from the White House, but in other displacements of authorities in the country and abroad.
To date, the Navy has used $1.5 billion of the $5 billion under the program. Delivery of all aircraft is expected to take place by 2023.
Transporting the President of the United States by helicopter is the responsibility of the Marines, just as the Air Force is responsible for transport by aircraft, in this case, the Air Force One jet (Boeing 747).