US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK from June 3-5, 2019, afforded potentially the final opportunity to witness a Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King in Europe. This likelihood has increased following approval and award of a $542 million contract to Sikorsky on June 10, 2019, to build six VH-92A presidential helicopters.
Naval Air Systems Command’s Presidential Helicopter Programme comprises 23 VH- 92As delivered to replace the current Presidential helicopter fleet of VH-3Ds and VH-60Ns.
Initial test and evaluation of the VH-92A is planned for 2020 with initial operating capability in late 2020.
Operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron 1 (HMX- 1), based at Marine Corps Air Station Quantico, Virginia, the VH-3D is primarily used for short-range transport of the President, Vice President, White House Cabinet and staff. The aircraft is known as ‘Marine One’ when the President is aboard. Three VH-3Ds arrived at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk on May 27, 2019 aboard a number of US Air Force C-17A Globemaster IIIs.
Following re-assembly, the three VH-3s departed to Biggin Hill, Kent where they operated for the duration of Trump’s threeday visit, alongside four US Army CH-47 Chinooks and two UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters from 2-1st Aviation Regiment.