Press Releases

Sikorsky Forms All-American VH-92 Team for Presidential Helicopter Competition

January 07, 2004

  STRATFORD, Connecticut - Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced today the formation of the All-American VH-92 Team, an enhanced set of all-American alliances for its bid to win the next generation Presidential helicopter.

The members of the All American VH-92 Team include:

  • Sikorsky Aircraft, of Stratford, Connecticut, will lead the team and serve as the prime system integrator, including aircraft and system design, component manufacturing, final assembly and in-service support.
  • FlightSafety International, of New York, New York, will provide simulation and training equipment.
  • L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, headquartered in Greenville, Texas, will provide mission communications systems and the aircraft interior furnishings.
  • Northrop Grumman, of Rolling Meadows, Illinois and San Jose, California, will provide aircraft survivability systems.
  • Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will provide major cockpit systems.
  • Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas, Texas, will provide integrated aerostructures.
  • General Electric Aircraft Engines, of Lynn, Massachusetts, will supply its CT7-8C engine. This alliance was previously announced at the 2003 Paris Air Show

"We are proud to announce the formation of the All-American VH-92 Team," said Sikorsky President Steve Finger. "Our company has a 45-year track record of safe and outstanding service to the President of the United States, and these are the American companies we have selected to help us extend that record for another generation."

Members of the All-American VH-92 Team are collaborating to respond to the U.S. Navy's Request for Proposal (RFP) for the VXX competition, the U.S. Government's official designation for the Presidential helicopter procurement. The RFP was released in December, and interested contractors are expected to respond by February 2, 2004. Final selection of the winning aircraft is expected in the spring of 2004.

"The All-American VH-92 Team truly comprises the all-stars of American aerospace," Finger said. "Our success starts with the Collier-Award-winning design of the Sikorsky S-92, and enhances it with systems and manufacturing expertise that will deliver to our President the safest and most capable helicopter ever made. The VH-92 will be in a class all its own."

VH-92: Safety by Award-Winning Design

Like all S-92s, the VH-92 has key safety features that are certified to the world's most demanding rotorcraft safety standards: FAR Part 29, Amendment 45. These include flaw tolerant components, tested to perform perfectly even when known defects have been introduced; engine-out performance that allows pilots to fly home or land safely at mission weights; triple electrical systems; triple hydraulics with automatic leak detection; redundant, separated flight controls; and a unique redundant, suction feed fuel system that eliminates dangerous pressurized fuel leaks.

Other safety features include fuel cells that are external to the passenger cabin and self-sealing. The aircraft is protected against lightning strikes, high intensity radiation fields, and icing conditions throughout the expected mission envelope. Turbine burst protection and resistance to bird strikes are also designed in, features unique among aircraft competing for the Presidential mission.

The VH-92 builds on all the lessons about reliability and safety that Sikorsky has learned through more than five million flight hours of the H-60 BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK helicopters. Versions of these robust machines are flown by every branch of the United States armed forces, and by the governments of 25 nations outside the United States.

Presidential Mission Infrastructure Already In Place

Finger noted that Sikorsky has provided helicopters to the White House for every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower. That wealth of experience is behind many design decisions that went into the VH-92. For example, even though the VH-92's cabin is larger than that of the current Presidential fleet, the VH-92 is the only helicopter competing for the White House mission that requires no disassembly to fit inside either C-5 or C-17 transport aircraft.

Sikorsky also has a fully DoD security-compliant manufacturing and support infrastructure already in place. This is a key advantage for the accelerated schedule on which these aircraft may be procured, allowing Sikorsky to provide mission-ready VH-92s by 2008. 

"When you look at the entire package: technology, safety, performance, and experience, there is no other choice for America's leader," said Finger. "The All-American VH-92 Team is ready to continue the mission that Sikorsky has fulfilled ever since American presidents started flying in helicopters."

Alliance Members Have Unparalleled Expertise

Finger elaborated on the tremendous experience that each member of the All-American VH-92 Team brings to the alliance:

FlightSafety International is the world's largest provider of aviation training services, training more than 70,000 aviation personnel annually at 40 learning centers worldwide. The company trains members of every branch of the U.S. military, including the Presidential flight detachment, utilizing both military-specific aircraft and military variants of civilian aircraft. The company is the largest simulator manufacturer in the United States and has built over 52 different types in the last five years alone.

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems is the most capable and dependable aircraft modernization and mission systems integration company in the world, having modified more than 15,000 aircraft of more than 125 types. They are recognized internationally as a systems integration organization specializing in the study, design, development, and integration of mission systems, and the modernization and maintenance of aircraft. Specifically, L-3/IS is the prime contractor for the mission communications system on Air Force One and other Presidential fleet aircraft. Their voice, data, and video distribution systems are operational on other VIP Special Air Mission aircraft.

L-3/IS' expertise spans the design, development, and integration of advanced avionics, special purpose airborne systems and aircraft modifications for government and commercial customers worldwide. Their core business includes the modernization of cockpit avionics, integration of mission communications, special mission electronic warfare and intelligence-gathering systems, infrared detection systems, depot-level overhaul, prototype design, crash damage repair, installation of interiors and avionics systems and certification for the complete VIP and head-of-state aircraft.

Northrop Grumman is a world leader in development, production and support of Airborne Survivability Equipment. Core business includes missile warning systems, direction and laser-based infrared countermeasures equipment, radar warning receivers and radio frequency self-protection countermeasures equipment. Northrop Grumman equipment ensures that comprehensive situation awareness and survivability.

Rockwell Collins, a leader in advanced flight deck solutions, has developed a scalable, open architecture avionics system. This system provides the advanced communication, navigation and surveillance capabilities required for data-intensive aircraft operations. Based on a common, yet highly partitioned hardware and software infrastructure, this advanced open architecture accommodates functionality upgrades needed as commercial and military operational requirements continue to evolve.

Through its heritage companies, Vought has been a premier supplier to the aerospace industry for nearly nine decades. The company is a proven leader in producing high-quality aerostructures for commercial and military aircraft. Vought offers full product life-cycle capabilities for major airframe structures, including independent research and development; design and tooling; manufacturing; testing; and product support.

More on All-American VH-92 Team Companies

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of advanced helicopters for commercial, industrial and military uses. Sikorsky helicopters occupy a prominent position in the intermediate to heavy range of 5,300 kg. to 33,000 kg. gross weight. They are flown by all five branches of the United States armed forces, along with military services and commercial operators in more than 40 nations.

Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.

FlightSafety International focuses its mission on increasing pilot proficiency across all aircraft types. Over its 52 years in business, FSI has amassed a fleet of more than 260 advanced simulators, and is the largest commercial owner-operator of simulators in the world, supported by its own simulator and visual manufacturing divisions, courseware developers, and more than 1,200 professional instructors. FlightSafety is a Berkshire Hathaway company (NYSE:BRKa, BRKb) whose parent is one of only a few AAA credit-rated companies in America.

L-3 Communications Integrated Systems is an SEI CMM Level 5 developer and integrator of complex electronic systems for communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Headquartered in Greenville, Texas, L-3/IS also operates from major sites in Waco, Texas; Lexington, Ky.; Tulsa, Okla. and Avalon, Australia.

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 Communications (NYSE:LLL) is a leading merchant supplier of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) products, secure communications systems and products, avionics and ocean products, training products, microwave components and telemetry, instrumentation, space and wireless products. Its customers include the Department of Defense, selected U.S.government intelligence agencies, aerospace prime contractors and commercial telecommunications and wireless customers. To learn more about L-3 Communications, please visit the company's web site at www.L-3Com.com.

The Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division is a business unit of Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems, including airborne radar systems, navigation systems, electronic warfare systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, air defense systems, communications systems, space systems, marine systems, oceanic and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services.

Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL) is a leader in the design, production and support of communications and aviation electronics solutions for commercial and government customers worldwide.

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