Military

Presidential Helicopter Replacement Takes Maiden Flight

By S.L. Fuller | August 3, 2017

VH-92A

VH-92A. Image courtesy of NAVAIR

The Sikorsky VH-92A has completed its first flight, Lockheed Martin said. The configured test aircraft is part of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program.

“This first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft is an important milestone for the program,” said Spencer Elani, director of the VH-92A program at Sikorsky. “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.”

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After completing its first flight, the VH-92A completed a second flight, Lockheed Martin said, in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time was one hour. They included hover-control checks, low-speed flight and a pass of the airfield, according to the manufacturer.

Now the 250-hour flight test program can commence. This will take place at Lockheed Martin facilities in Owego, New York. It is planned that Engineering Development Model 1 (EDM-1) will be joined by EDM-2. The second test aircraft is currently on track to taking its maiden flight later this year, Lockheed Martin said.

The VH-92A contract was awarded in 2014, worth $1.24 billion. Sikorsky is to deliver two test aircraft and four production aircraft. There are also options for 17 aircraft, which is set to be finalized in fiscal year 2019. The VH-92A is expected to enter service in 2020.

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