Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Canada considers buying cancelled VH-71 helicopters

November 2010 - Canada has confirmed that is is considering bidding to buy the VH-71 Kestrel helicopters that are now stored after the Presidential VH-71 program was cancelled.

The Canadians would use these near aero time airframes as "hanger queens" to donate spare parts to the  CH-149 Cormorant fleet operated by the Canadain military for search and rescue missions - the CH-149 Cormorant and VH-71 Kestrel are both based on the same EH-101 airframe.

More details on the Vancouver Sun newspaper website link below

Vancouver Sun OTTAWA — The Defence Department is looking at whether it should buy U.S. President Barack Obama’s helicopter cast-offs as spare parts for the Canadian air force’s Cormorant search-and-rescue choppers.
Preliminary discussions are underway on the possible sale of the US101 helicopters to Canada. The aircraft, which were to form the new fleet of “Marine One” presidential helicopters, are similar to Canada’s CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue choppers which, at times, have been grounded because of a lack of spare parts.
There could be as many as eight of the helicopters available for sale - for more see the link below.

Read More on the link below

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Agustawestland and Boeing join forces for VXX proposal

Deja Vu - the AW101 is back in the running for the presidential VXX helicopter program - this time with a new US partner Boeing instead of the original VH-71 partnership with Lockheed Martin.

The official Agustawestland press release starts....

Finmeccanica Announces AgustaWestland Agreement with Boeing for U.S. President’s Helicopter

Today, Finmeccanica announced an AgustaWestland agreement with the Boeing Company for the
U.S. Navy’s Marine One presidential helicopter program (VXX). Boeing secured the rights to use AgustaWestland intellectual property, data and production rights to integrate the AW101 into a Boeing product for the VXX program. AgustaWestland will keep a role in developing the programme and will be awarded a significant part of the basic helicopter production.

The birth of the "Boeing 101"

See official Agustawestland press release relating to Boeing and VXX


Monday, 7 June 2010

Boeing offers the AW101 for VXX

In a strange twist Boeing have announced today 7th June 2010 that it has secured all rights to the Agustawestland AW101 design  - this design was of course used by the Lockheed Martin / Agustawestland VH-71 project.

A press statement from Boeing starts,

RIDLEY PARK, Pa., June 7, 2010 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that it will secure a license from AgustaWestland for U.S. production of the AW101 medium-lift helicopter as an entry into the U.S. Navy VXX Presidential Helicopter Program. This license will give Boeing full intellectual property, data and production rights for the aircraft in support of the VXX program. Because of this arrangement, the aircraft will be a Boeing aircraft, built by Boeing personnel at one of its U.S. facilities. The company will submit information regarding this aircraft in response to the Navy's current Request for Information by the June 18 deadline.

Click here to read the full Boeing press release on the AW101

So what the existing VH-71 helicopters already built by Agustawestland whilst partnered to Lockheed Martin - will these exisitng airframes be acquired by Boeing to assist the re-development of the AW101 from the VH-71 to the VXX ?

Or will these nine low hour airfames linger and gather dust in the darkened corner of  hangers at Patuxant River & Owego ??

I would welcome any update that can be provided on the current status and whereabouts  of the VH-71 development aircraft, TV-2 through TV-5 and PP-1 through PP-5 - thank you.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

VH-71 - current status ?

Where are the nine VH-71A airframes currently - with the project in limbo pending further progress with the new VXX program aircraft TV-2 through TV-5 and PP-1 through PP-5 are believed to be currently stored.

A report from the US suggests that approx 6 VH-71 airframes are stored with Lockheed Martin at Owego in NY state - I would assume that the balance of the fleet are hangared at NAS Patuxent River.

If you can provide any more details on the current disposition of the nine VH-71 airframes then please let me know - thank you.

Friday, 19 February 2010

New VXX competition reveals changes for US presidential helicopter

Feb 2010

Flightglobal report - New VXX competition reveals changes for US presidential helicopter

For their take on this latest news see the link below for more details

USN issues a new request for the VXX

Feb 2010 - US Navy issues a new request for the VXX program - the search begins again to find a replacement for the ageing VH-3D and VH-60N fleet.

Presidential Vertical Lift Platform Analysis of Alternatives Request For Information

This announcement constitutes a Request for Information (RFI) for planning purposes. This is NOT a Request for Proposals. NO SOLICITATION DOCUMENTS EXIST AT THIS TIME. The Initial Capability Document (ICD) for Presidential Vertical Lift Platform(s) (VXX), 6 August 2009 established a requirement for a vertical lift capability to support the Office of the President of the United States, replacing the existing fleet of VH-3D/VH-60N aircraft. This new capability should have an IOC in the 2017-2023 timeframe and will require support through the anticipated life cycle.

For access to the full complete RFI document please follow the link below

Sunday, 19 July 2009

VH-71 News

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has approved $485.2 million in funding to put five VH-71 presidential helicopters into operation.

But the fight to keep the program alive is not over. “There are several legislative steps that the bill needs to go through before the funding for the helicopter is officially allocated,” said the office of U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley.
For instance, the Senate needs to take up its own version of the Defense Appropriations bill and the president would have to sign the legislation. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he will work to have the funding matched in the Senate.

More details via this news LINK