A Big Bird for Protus

Sept. 13, 2007
Look for Marine One, the world's most technologically advanced helicopter, to land on the South Lawn of the White House in late 2009.

Built under contract to the U.S. Navy, Test Vehicle 2 was assembled at AgustaWestland's facility in Yeovil, U.K. It is the first purpose-built U.S. presidential helicopter.

During a recent 40-min flight, AgustaWestland Chief Test Pilot Don Maclaine and Senior Test Pilot Dick Trueman conducted general-aircraft-handling checks, tested flight performance at speeds up to 135 knots, and evaluated the on-board avionics systems. TV-2 will be delivered to the test facility in Patuxent River, Md., this fall for structural testing.

The VH-71 (Presidential Helicopters Program) team will build a fleet of Marine One helicopters in two installments. Four test aircraft and five pilot production aircraft will be de livered through 2009. Bell Helicopter in Texas will handle final assembly.

The V-2 is based on AgustaWestland's EH101 multimission helicopter. Since 1997, over 130 EH101s have been delivered to the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Italian Navy, Canadian forces, and the governments of Denmark, Portugal and Japan.

AgustaWestlandBell, the U.S. principal subcontractor to Lockheed Martin, handles basic vehicle design, production build, and basic support functions, while General Electric is supplying the engines. More than 200 U.S. suppliers support the VH-71 program.

Marine One, specifically built for presidential use, will enter service in 2009.

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