VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Test Aircraft Maiden Flight
The new "Marine One" will safely and reliably transport the president and vice president of the United States, heads of state and other official parties both at home and abroad with mobile “Oval Office in the sky” capabilities. The designated Test Vehicle 2 (TV-2), built under contract to the U.S. Navy, was assembled and prepared at an AgustaWestland facility. It is the first test aircraft built specifically for the VH-71 Presidential Helicopters Program.
Before TV-2 is delivered to the test facility in Patuxent River, MD this fall for structural testing, the aircraft will complete initial shake-down flying and embark on flight trials to test the integrated avionics systems and aircraft systems.
Initial Operational Capability of the Presidential helicopter is scheduled for late 2009. The VH-71 industry team will build a fleet of “Marine One” helicopters in two increments. Four test aircraft and five pilot production VH-71 aircraft comprising the Increment 1 phase are to be delivered through 2009. Increment 1 will answer the urgent need for an air system with enhanced performance. Increment 2 will see a significant increase in aircraft performance, and will feature technical enhancements designed to give command and control capability while in flight.