The Lockheed Martin-led US101 team, offering a helicopter based on the Anglo-Italian aircraft EH101, has captured the highly prized $1.6 billion contract to develop and build the next US presidential aircraft.
The US Navy's announcement on 28 January was a rare and signature victory for an international industry team competing for a prestigious US defence contract, which unseated Sikorsky as the incumbent supplier.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the US101 team, which includes AgustaWestland's airframe, final assembly at a Bell Helicopter plant in Texas and General Electric's CT7-8E engine.
Sikorsky attacked the US101 bid by pursuing an "All-American" marketing theme for its VH-92 bid, and challenged whether the competing team's Anglo-Italian aircraft design could meet presidential security requirements. More recently, Sikorsky also attacked perceived technical flaws and safety deficiencies in the US101 design.
The Lockheed Martin-led US101 team had countered that its proposal met requirements for US-made content and presidential security.
STEPHEN TRIMBLE / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International