Nov 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon says Biden's new helicopter is unreliable in emergencies


The VH-92 helicopter on the White House Lawn in February. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden's first flight on the new presidential helicopter is being delayed, Bloomberg reports.

Driving the news: The Pentagon's testing unit warned that the helicopter made by Lockheed Martin was not "operationally suitable," especially in emergency situations, according to Bloomberg.

The big picture: The new VH-92 helicopter program was meant to be the $5 billion replacement for helicopters currently used by the president and other top officials.

In a report dated Sept. 28, the Pentagon's testing unit found that while the helicopter was good for "administrative" missions like going to Camp David, it was not effective for emergency flights, per Bloomberg.

  • The report explained that the “Mission Communication System (MCS) often delayed critical communications at the beginning of contingency missions and did not adequately support timely, continuous and secure communications.”
  • The helicopter also still may scorch the White House Lawn, limiting where it can land, according to Bloomberg.

What they're saying: “The report did not raise any issues” that the program office and Marine Corps “were unaware of, or the issues were previously corrected,” said spokesperson Maj. Jorge Hernandez, according to Bloomberg.

  • John Dorrian, a spokesperson for Lockheed's Sikorsky division, said that they will continue "to work closely with our customer to ensure the aircraft meets all operational requirements."
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