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Mon, Jun 01, 2009

Official: Navy Terminates VH-71 Contract

That's Pretty Much It... BuhBye!

The Navy has announced that it will terminate the VH-71 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program contract. The announcement follows a Department of Defense (DoD) decision to cancel the existing presidential helicopter replacement program. The VH-71 was intended to replace both the VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft currently used to conduct presidential support missions.
Navy contract N00019-05-C-0030 and associated work with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego (LMSI-O), Owego, N.Y., awarded Jan. 28, 2005, for the SDD of the VH-71 program, has been terminated for the convenience of the government. 
The under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics issued a VH-71 program acquisition decision memorandum on May 15, 2009, which directed the program be cancelled, to include both Increment 1 and Increment 2.

Just a few days ago, Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa pleaded for the Pentagon continue to go ahead with the VH-71 program. The VH-71 is based on the AW101 helicopter built by Italian firm AgustaWestland in Italy and the United Kingdom. In the letter to Gates, La Russa "expressed his concerns over the ongoing debate about the presidential helicopter, offered the assistance of the Italian government, and called for close cooperation by the manufacturer in order to find the most opportune way to successfully realize the program."

"The cancellation of the VH-71 program would negatively impact jobs and the industrial base in Italy and the U.K. It is fundamental for all allied countries to maintain a strong, autonomous defense industrial capability, and this program is a key element in the pursuit of that strategy."



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