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The U.S. Navy on Friday finalized its rules for the rebooted competition to replace the president's aging fleet of Marine One helicopters.
Sikorsky, a division of United Technologies Corp. that has supplied the helicopters that act as Marine One for the president for more than 50 years, has teamed with Lockheed Martin for the project.
The existing fleet of 19 helicopters that ferry about the president, vice president and visiting heads of state went into service in the late 1970s and '80s. The Marines operate the fleet, and the Navy is running the procurement program.
For the competition, Sikorsky is putting forward its S-92 helicopter, which will be outfitted with radar and communications systems by Lockheed.
"Sikorsky brings unmatched experience having flown every commander in chief since President Eisenhower," the company said in a statement Friday. "When combined with Lockheed Martin's systems integration expertise, our team provides unparalleled knowledge of Presidential helicopter transport."
Northrop Grumman and Augusta Westland have said they plan on developing a version of the AW-101 to compete in the Marine One program. Boeing had previously expressed interest in the competition as well.
Sikorsky lost a previous competition to replace the Marine One fleet in 2005. But when the program went over budget - about doubling by 2008 to $7 billion - it was cancelled. The defense department hopes to avoid a similar outcome by requiring that company's offer an off-the-shelf model of helicopter rather than developing a new one.