Lockheed Martin has announced the first flight of a VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the US Marine Corps VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program.

The company say that the flight signals the start of the 250 hour flight test program, which will take place at Lockheed Martin facilities in New York.

The aircraft achieved its first flight, and later that same day completed a second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time for the two sorties was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield.

Spencer Elani, director VH-92A program at Sikorsky said:

“This first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft is an important milestone for the program.

Having independently tested the aircraft’s components and subsystems, we are now moving forward to begin full aircraft system qualification via the flight test program.”

As the flight test program proceeds, this test aircraft (Engineering Development Model 1, or EDM-1) will be joined by an additional test aircraft (EDM-2) over the course of the 12-month flight test program. EDM-2 is on track for its first flight later this year.

Lockheed Martin said in a press release we received earlier in the week:

“The VH-92A aircraft is based on Sikorsky’s successful and FAA-certified S-92A commercial aircraft, which recently surpassed one million flight hours.

The S-92A aircraft, assembled in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, is being modified to include integration of government-defined missions systems and an executive interior.”

US Marine Corps Col. Robert Pridgen, program manager for the Naval Air System Command’s Presidential Helicopter’s Program Office said:

“With this successful first flight on the books, we look forward to completion of Sikorsky’s flight test program, operational testing and production of this aircraft to support the Office of the President of the United States.”

The VH-92A will enter service in 2020 and will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Well done USA. 8 years after Obama shafted us Brits and cancelled the contract for 23 Merlins (after 9 had been delivered) you get the Sikorsky test rig up and flying. Although I never understood why one President needs 23 helicopters….

    Like Airbus were shafted after winning the tanker contract and still no operational Boeing replacements 9 years later.

    Yank Protectionism loud and proud for all to see.

    • Between France, the US, Germany and Japan and all the other major powers, it feels like the UK is the only one who truly adheres to the spirit of free trade despite all the others claiming they do. Then UK componies get shafted for it.

  2. Well, that was obviously tongue in cheek. It’s fair to say that Britain buys a lot of US kit. The royals fly around in UK-sourced planes, though – or, at least planes that the U.K. Had a major hand in developing.

    • Nick – Yes (unless you are referring to BAE 146 aircraft) the same Airbus A330 MRTT Voyagers that I was referring to earlier shafted by Obama and his Boeing friends in the Senate. Aircraft ordered by the RAF after an open tender competition. And mostly French with British wings and engines.

      Its the same with the ongoing story with Brimstone. The US military want it, we have done all the R & D and upgraded it and its a proven weapon system but the Yanks won’t buy it unless its ‘Made in Muricaaaa’. They should have to do what we have to do if we want a missile from the USA: Just buy the damn thing and share the trade equally.

  3. Just had another look at that photo. Is it me or have Sikorsky just cloned a Merlin HC3?

    And I am sure the Canadians can tell the President all about their the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopters that don’t actually work. And how they are very grateful that Obama sold them those 9 Merlins for a round of drinks …

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