Sikorsky upgrades Mission Communications System of presidential chopper

Sikorsky won a $9.5 million contract modification to upgrade the Mission Communications System of the VH-92A presidential helicopter.

The modification is for the integration of the Mission Communications System Version 3.0 hardware changes. Sikorsky will perform work in Patuxent River, Maryland and is expecting completion in April 2020.

The VH-92 is currently under development and is supposed to replace the Marine Corps’ Marine One US Presidential transport fleet. According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office external link, the VH-92A program will cost less than initially anticipated. The cost has declined from $5.18 billion to $4.95 billion since 2014.

The Navy previously attempted to replace this aging fleet starting in 2002, selecting a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 called the VH-71. However, the Navy terminated the contract in 2009 due to schedule delays, performance issues, and a doubling of cost estimates, from $6.5 billion to $13 billion. The VH-92A program has also seen some delays.

Specifically, the Milestone C review to authorize low-rate initial production has been pushed back five months, from January to June 2019, and the initial operational test and evaluation start has been pushed back from October 2019 to March 2020. An initial operational capability decision is now anticipated in October 2020, three months later than originally expected.