The Department of Defense awarded a contract to a Connecticut company that will build a fleet of helicopters to replace the Marine One fleet that ferries U.S. presidents short distances. Just one company bid on the project, raising questions about whether the Navy got a fair price.
Marine One-to-be: An artist’s rendering shows what Sikorsky’s proposed ‘VXX’ presidential helicopter might look like.
The tab for a new helicopter fleet is estimated to top $20 billion, including $3 billion spent between 2005 and 2009 on a program that was later canceled. The new contract will buy 23 SIkorsky helicopters at an estimated cost of $400 million each, about the cost of the Air Force One 747 jet.
Adding in the likely $17 billion price tag for the new project – a number estimated by the Congressional Budget Office – the $20 billion total makes the fleet the most expensive helicopters ever built.
I thought we were in a recession with a debt that may never be out of the red; how does Obama justify cutting our Military benefits, and Veteran benefits in light of this exorbitant, and rather narcissistic undertaking?
The helicopters will have systems that can defend against missile attacks, and shielding to guard electronic components against energy waves produced by nuclear explosions.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain mocked the exorbitant helicopter upgrade project that was later shelved.
‘Your helicopter is now going to cost as much as Air Force One,’ McCain said. ‘I don’t think there’s any more graphic demonstration of how good ideas have cost taxpayers an enormous amount of money.’
The Daily Beast reported Friday that the 23 or more new choppers based on the Sikorsky S-92 medium helicopter will be delivered, but not until 2022.
The need for 23 choppers to serve one president can be justified by the minimum of two decoys, and as many as five that fly to Andrews Air Force Base whenever the President goes from the White House to a waiting Air Force One. When Presidents travel, duplicate helicopters are flown on cargo planes in advance, so one can be fueled and waiting when the plane touches down.