The Navy has issued the draft request for proposals to industry for the new Presidential helicopter. The sea service wants a survivable and dependable platform, dubbed VXX, to replace the aging VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters that have shuttled the President for decades. The Pentagon canceled the original Presidential helicopter replacement program in 2009 after it experienced significant cost spikes and schedule delays. This is the second major go-around. The Navy intends to conduct a full and open competition for VXX, with the contract award notionally planned for mid 2014 and initial operations of the VXX fleet commencing in early 2020, according to the draft solicitation issued on Nov. 23. Navy officials said offerors are “highly encouraged to propose an existing, in-production helicopter platform,” since the service wants “to hold development to an absolute minimum” and “focus the program effort on integration of mature subsystems on a mature platform.” The Navy plans an industry day in early December to give prospective offerors the opportunity to ask questions on the program and offer their input. (For more on the background of VXX, read The Saga of Marine One from Air Force Magazine’s February 2012 issue.)
The Air Force’s plans for its portion of joint all-domain command and control have taken a major step forward. The service awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, multiple-award contract worth up to $950 million to 27 companies.