US Navy chooses US-Europe US101 helicopter to be next Marine One

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

The U.S. Navy has chosen the US-Europe US101 helicopter to be the next Marine One, the helicopter for the U.S. President.

The present aircraft, Sikorsky SeaKings, are around thirty years old and do not have the payload capacity to carry the modern communications gear demanded by the White House. The contract is expected to cover the purchase of 23 helicopters.

When invitations were made to industry inviting proposals for replacements, Sikorsky offered their H-92. Lockheed Martin did not have a suitable helicopter and, rather than developing, a new design, offered the European EH101, renamed the US101. The US101 will be built in America using mainly US components with some European content.

The EH101 was developed jointly by the British company Westland and the Italian Augusta, who formed the AugustaWestland company. The helicopter has seen service with the British Army in Bosnia, the Royal Navy in the recent Iraq war and with Canadian Coastguard in search and rescue operations.