How many schools can you buy for $6.1 billion?
After decades of upgrades to a fleet of notoriously cramped Sikorsky VH-3 Sea Kings, the White House has tasked Lockheed Martin with a dramatic, $6.1-billion makeover of Marine One, the presidential helicopter, starting this summer. The goal: to fit a mobile Oval Office into the tight quarters of a chopper. The new fleet will consist of 23 VH-71 aircraft, each of which will have 200 square feet of cabin space, nearly double the Sea King?s 116.Aside from the legroom, the copter will incorporate major upgrades to the old defense and communications systems. Equally important is that the aircraft is flight-proven?the $110-million bird is derived from a European-built AgustaWestland EH101, currently doing military service for Canada and the U.K. Here, an inside look at the revamped Marine One, set to gradually go into service between 2009 and 2014.
Fuselage: Made of high-strength reinforced aluminum alloy, it can withstand crash impacts in excess of 15 Gs. – more