The U.S. Navy estimates the cost to develop, procure, and maintain the VH-92A over its 40-year operational life to be just over $20.5 billion, or about 10 percent less than the Navy’s 2014 baseline estimate. Navy and contractor officials worked to remain within the program’s April 2014 cost baseline estimate, in part, by keeping program requirements stable, limiting design changes, and taking advantage of cost saving initiatives. The Navy also plans to use Navy personnel and facilities to perform depot-level maintenance for the VH-92A fleet, rather than sending the helicopters back to the contractor as is currently done.
The program has made progress addressing technical risks and performance challenges GAO discussed in prior reports; however, an April 2019 operational assessment confirmed several other risks that could affect the helicopter’s ability to meet its reliability and availability requirements. Upgraded software intended to address those limitations is to be evaluated during the initial operational test and evaluation scheduled to be conducted between June and September 2020. The results of that testing could impact the Navy’s planned January 2021 decision to begin using the helicopters as part of the presidential helicopter fleet.
The Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin VH-92 is an American helicopter under development to replace the United States Marine Corps’ Marine One U.S. Presidential transport fleet. It is a military variant of the Sikorsky S-92. Sikorsky is working with the U.S. Navy on a fleet of VH-92A helicopters to support the Presidential world-wide vertical-lift mission. To help ensure an affordable program, we are integrating the already-FAA certified S-92 aircraft with a mature mission communications system and an executive interior. Planned to enter service in 2020, the VH-92A will continue to provide safe and reliable helicopter transportation.
The Navy awarded a $1,244,677,064 fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, with production options, on May 7, 2014 to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for 21 operational and two test aircraft. Initial fielding is planned for 2020, with production concluding in 2023. Under the contract, Sikorsky will use its in-production S-92A aircraft and integrate government-defined mission systems and install an executive interior. Overall, the Department of the Navy’s VH-92A acquisition strategy emphasizes affordability, cost control and risk reduction, in balance with system performance. The U.S. Air Force approved the VH-92A designation on Oct. 3, 2014.