Today the Navy issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program (VXX). Proposals are due in 90 days with a goal to award a fixed-price incentive engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract, with production options, by mid-calendar year 2014.
“Our acquisition approach includes a full and open competition to select a prime contractor that can best integrate mature subsystems into an air vehicle currently in production for an affordable solution that meets mission requirements,” said Captain Dean Peters, the program manager charged with development of the replacement aircraft. “We’re seeking a technically viable, cost-effective vertical lift aircraft to replace the current fleet as these reach the end of their useful service life. The Department of the Navy is committed to deliver a safe and reliable new Presidential Helicopter fleet, while maintaining the In-Service Fleet until that replacement is fielded.”
During the EMD phase, the selected contractor will provide six test aircraft, four of which will become operational aircraft. During the production phase, the RFP calls for 17 operational aircraft (four in low-rate initial production (LRIP) 1, five in LRIP 2 and eight in full-rate production), for a fleet total of 21 aircraft.
The scope of the RFP also includes associated support equipment for the aircraft, integration of mature, government-defined mission systems into an existing aircraft, development of a training system, including a flight training device and a maintenance training device; logistics, engineering and test and evaluation support; and the appropriate security environment.
The Marine Corps currently operates eleven VH-3D and eight VH-60N helicopters; the VH-3Ds were originally placed in service in 1974 and 1975, and the VH-60s entered service in the 1980s. Both aircraft are well past their original twenty-year service life expectations. Safe operations have been sustained with a comprehensive overhaul cycle at relatively short, three-year intervals.