Rough Ride For Lockheed's Presidential Helicopter

The WSJ takes a look (subscription required) at Lockheed's effort to replace the government's fleet of presidential helicopters and finds what one expert calls a "a classic case of mission creep." The Navy has added so many bells and whistles since the contract was first let that the future Marine One is now "a helicopter being devoured by its own contents," Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at Teal Group, a consulting firm, tells the paper.

Frank Meyer, president of Lockheed's unit in Owego, tells the WSJ all of the extras are justified because the choppers will "be in service for many decades to come and provide a very important service to the nation."

By Dan Beyers  |  July 24, 2007; 7:32 AM ET  | Category:  Lockheed
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Comments

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Aboulfia is always pretty negative, but there is no doubt that requirements creep is an issue for any military program. The JCIDS process hasn't helped that.

Posted by: Dagpotter | July 24, 2007 8:00 AM

Who cares about quality, efficiency, good service, the only thing that matters in todays business world is money and Lockheed's earnings are up 34 percent, where's the problem?

Posted by: john copinger | July 26, 2007 4:45 AM

Creep it may be, but one still has to ask why the President of the United States is going to be transported around the United States in a EUROPEAN built machine when a locally built alternative was always available --why????

Posted by: Ned Kelly | July 26, 2007 5:28 AM

Actually Aboulfia is being kind and politically generous. NAVAIR history will repeat itself again on this program. There will eventually be massive over runs on cost and schedule, and the decision making will be confused. The ultimate customer will suffer the delays and cost while the acquisition system continues to ensure NAVAIR growth, congressional pork, and Contractor profit.

Posted by: commentator | July 26, 2007 5:41 AM

they try to get these helicopters done as cheep as they can so the shareholders will be happy. i say put thoses share holders in these aircraft along with the CEOs of these corporations and let them fly in these death machines..........

Posted by: bob | July 26, 2007 6:02 AM

they try to get these helicopters done as cheep as they can so the shareholders will be happy. i say put thoses share holders in these aircraft along with the CEOs of these corporations and let them fly in these death machines..........

Posted by: bob | July 26, 2007 6:02 AM

Yes, but will it have cup holders?

Posted by: bobm | July 26, 2007 7:20 PM

with sikorsky aircraft making 107% profit from last years quater is saying to me that they just try to make better profits every year but do not care about quality of the aircraft.

Posted by: jeff p | July 27, 2007 7:54 AM

with sikorsky aircraft making 107% profit from last years quater is saying to me that they just try to make better profits every year but do not care about quality of the aircraft.

Posted by: jeff p | July 27, 2007 7:54 AM

Ned - One word: Performance. The US alternative did not compete with the AW helo. In any case, a Euro base-design does not mean euro built. The aircraft's mission systems integration are done in New York and the aircraft will be built in Texas. I don't see a problem.

Posted by: JJ | July 27, 2007 12:11 PM

When compared to the S-92 the US101 does not hold its own. The S-92 completed 50,000.00 incident free hours with a reliability rate of over 93%. Where is the US101 today? Still in development, over budget and being replaced world wide by the S-92. It is a shame that political influence overturned common sense. Fortunately, the President still flies in a proven aircraft... Sikorsky.

Posted by: CJ | July 30, 2007 11:01 PM

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