January 29, 2005 George W is updating the fleet all round it seems. Just a few days ago we saw the new presidential limousine, and now comes the news that a new Presidential helicopter has been selected to provide a safe and secure "Oval Office in the Sky." Unlike Cadillac One, the selection process for the Presidential helicopter has been ongoing for some time. The fleet of helicopters currently used by the president includes 30-year old aircraft that were designed in the sixties, fielded in the seventies and no longer has the growth capability to incorporate the equipment necessary to provide suitable presidential support in the post 9-11 environment.
The selected helicopter is the US101, an American derivation of the AgustaWestland EH101 multimission helicopter . The prime contractor and systems integrator for the American-built US101 will be Lockheed Martin.
A proven product, representing the lowest risk solution to the President, the US101 is a modern military helicopter equipped with triple-redundant systems - including three General Electric 2500 shaft-horsepower CT7-8E engines - and the capacity for further capability growth over time.
More than 200 suppliers in 41 states support Team US101, led by Lockheed Martin with teammates Agusta Westland and Bell Helicopter Textron. Suppliers include some of America's leading aerospace companies, such as General Electric, ITT, Northrop Grumman, Kaman Aerospace and Palomar Products.
The first US101 ready to transport the President is expected to be available in 2009, with the entire fleet of 23 US101 delivered to the Marine One squadron by late 2014.