07 February 2005

Cormorant wins job of flying US President

A consortium led in the United States by Lockheed Martin has won the contract to replace Sikorsky SeaKing helicopters in the American Presidential flight. The contract, valued at US$1.7 billion, will see the consortium supply a total of 23 aircraft to be flown by the United States Marine Corps contingent that ferries the President on short flights.

Canadians will be interested in this since the EH-101 is flown by the Canadian Forces under the name Cormorant and used for search and rescue service. The same aircraft lost a recent Canadian competition to supply 28 ship-borne helicopters to replace the SeaKing. The winner of that job was the Sikorsky S-92, a derivative of the familiar SH-60 SeaHawk/UH-60 BlackHawk helicopters built by Sikorsky.

This whole business will become more interesting to watch as the United States Department of Defense looks to replace its own SeaKings in the coming years.

Looking a little closer to home, the website for the LockheedMartin proposal, Team US101, lists two recent rescues by Cormorants from 103 Squadron in Gander as proof of the aircraft's capabilities.

They even mention that the Cormorant staged from the Hibernia rig on one mission.

The contract award was announced on January 28, 2005.