In 1961, the U.S. president got a new "Marine One" helicopter to fly around in: a customized version of the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King called the VH-3A. The VH-3As were upgraded in 1976 to the VH-3D, but since then, there haven't been any major changes to Marine One. After September 11, the Department of Defense decided that something a little more modern would probably be a good idea.
The DoD spent $5.4 billion in 2009 for nine new helicopters from Lockheed Martin that were never used, which later got sold to Canada for spare parts for $164 million. For the record, that's a per-helicopter cost of $600 million, which is $200 million more than the customized Boeing 747 that the president uses as Air Force One.
After that fiasco, the Marine Corps tried again, and this time, Sikorsky came through with the VH-92, a deriviative of their S-92 commercial medium-lift helicopter. We're not sure what the specs on the VH-92 are going to be, but the S-92 can transport 22 people, produces 2,000 more horsepower than the VH-3A, can travel 25 miles per hour faster, and hauls an extra 4,000 pounds of gear. The FAA has also called it "the safest helicopter in the world." What we do know is that the VH-92 will include a bunch of upgraded safety and communications gear, and will be hardened against electromagnetic pulses from nuclear detonations.
Sikorsky will produce the first six VH-92s for the Marine Corps for a mere $1.24 billion, and eventually, 17 of them will take over presidential taxi operations by 2023.
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