US101 Marine One
The US101 team led by Lockheed Martin was formed specifically because it had the depth of experience to give the president the safest and most advanced rotary wing platform of its kind, integrated with the most advanced mission systems, at the best value and lowest risk. The US101 team was committed to building the aircraft in America, sourcing more than 65 percent of the components from American suppliers.
Built by Bell Helicopter in Texas, integrated by Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in New York, powered by GE Aircraft Engines in Massachusetts, and supplied by American companies across 41 states, the US101 platform would sustain and create hundreds of high-technology jobs to build the next presidential helicopter fleet. The US101 was said to save $2 billion in research and development costs already paid, costs the American taxpayer otherwise would have to bear. All told, the US101 would have more than 65 percent US content, with 90 percent of the program's dollar value said to benefit the American economy.
The mission to transport VIPs and foreign dignitaries also would be used to evacuate members of Congress and their staff from Washington in the event of a major emergency. The larger cabin provided by the US101 would significantly reduce the number of evacuation flights. The aircraft's speed and extended all-weather capabilities would enable rapid egress to a safe location.
The US101, the name given to the American variant of the successful EH101 medium-lift helicopter, was designed as an agile and maneuverable military aircraft. Three engines ensure maximum safety, payload and range at altitudes up to 15,000 feet. The US101 has reserves of power and built-in capacity to accommodate additional mission technologies and payload for years to come according to the manufacturer. Operationally proven, the EH101 platform had shown itself to be safe in countless missions from search and rescue to fleet protection. Five NATO countries had selected the EH101 platform. By 2005 over 90 operational aircraft had logged 45,000 flying hours (and counting) worldwide.
The EH101 was designed as a multi-role helicopter supporting military and civilian markets. Since then, the EH101 had proven itself around the world in a variety of missions. The US armed forces only had to look to the EH101 aircraft's operational track record worldwide to witness the aircraft proven multi-mission capabilities and the outlook for the future with the US101. Since 1998, EH101 operational aircraft had proved to be readily adaptable to a range of missions, from troop transport to search and rescue, and from executive transport to anti surface and anti submarine warfare.
In the Arabian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom, support crew at sea transformed each of four British Royal Navy EH101 Merlin Mk 1 aircraft from their anti-submarine configuration to their fleet protection utility role in just 14 hours. The role change included the complete removal of each aircraft's anti submarine warfare suite, the installation of stretchers for its medevac role, as well as the fitting of a weapons carrier and light machine gun. Rapid role change times provide task force commanders with greater flexibility to employ their airborne assets.
Team US101, which combined the collective capabilities of Lockheed Martin, Agusta-Westland and Bell Helicopter Textron, was formed to develop an American variant of Agusta-Westland's successful EH101 multimission helicopter for the US marketplace. Opportunities included a new Marine One fleet to fly the president of the United States, and combat search and rescue aircraft for the US Air Force. Team US101 collectively brought extensive rotorcraft expertise and experience: Lockheed Martin (prime contractor and systems integration), AgustaWestland (aircraft design) and Bell Helicopter (airframe assembly). Agusta-Westland Inc. is the US subsidiary of Agusta-Westland, a Finmeccanica company, while Agusta-Westland-Bell was a joint venture of Agusta-Westland and Bell Helicopter Textron.
Agusta-Westland brought together two great names in the history of helicopter design and manufacture with both Agusta and Westland each having entered the helicopter industry over 50 years ago. Agusta's and Westland's pedigree as helicopter manufacturers dates back to the 1950s when both companies made strategic decisions to move into rotary wing aircraft production. Agusta and Westland first collaborated in the 1960s, and evolved for more than 20 years, including collaboration on the development and production of the 17-ton multi-role EH101, the largest European helicopter program then ever undertaken. This association provided the platform that enabled the two companies to conclude a rapid and effective integration when Finmeccanica SpA of Italy and GKN plc of the UK signed the agreement on the formation of a joint venture company in 2000.
The US Air Force Special Operations Command had a need for approximately 132 aircraft for combat search and rescue missions (CSAR), or personnel recovery. Traditionally, the CSAR mission had been limited to the recovery of downed aircrew from within hostile territory. However, the mission was evolving with the nature of modern warfare to enable rapid insertion and/or recovery of special operations forces. US101 Team member Lockheed Martin Systems Integration had a 30-year heritage developing and integrating systems for CSAR and special operation forces aircraft. The US101 aircraft was suited for the expanded CSAR mission. Designed as a military platform to operate from sea borne vessels, the aircraft was exceptionally agile, a significant advantage for a rescue helicopter where rapid evasion is required to avoid enemy action.
In the Air Force CSAR-X competition, LMSI received a past performance rating of little confidence (indicating that a substantial doubt existed that the offeror would successfully perform the required effort) due to unsatisfactory performance under its current contract to design, develop and field the VH-71 Presidential helicopter, a contract evaluated as highly relevant to this procurement. The Air Force considered the VH-71 contract to be the most "highly relevant" contract for LMSI, because the VH-71 helicopter was based on the same helicopter (US101) as LMSI"s proposed CSAR-X helicopter, and the VH-71 contract effort involved a similar teaming arrangement with Agusta-Westland. The SSA noted that LMSI had shown under the VH-71 contract that it "could not reliably meet important schedule requirements and had difficulty in systems engineering flow-downs to their subcontractors," and cited LMSI's poor performance as one of the principal bases for his determination that, not withstanding its lower evaluated cost/price, LMSI's proposal nevertheless did not represent the best value.
On 28 January 2005 the Department of Defense announced that the team led by Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, NY, had been selected to build the new presidential helicopter (VXX) based on its US101 medium lift helicopter. This $1.7 billion, cost plus award fee contract will launch the VXX program's system development and demonstration phase during which the program will integrate a "system of systems" with a modern, in-production aircraft to provide the president with safe and reliable helicopter transportation.
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