Lockheed Martin announced the first flight of the VH-92A configured test aircraft in support of the U.S. Marine Corps’ VH-92A Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program.
The VH-92A is powered by GE Aviation’s CT7-86A engine, which is built at GE’s facility in Lynn, Massachusetts.
The aircraft achieved its first flight on July 28th and later that day completed a second flight at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut. Total flight time for the two sorties was one hour and included hover control checks, low speed flight, and a pass of the airfield. Beginning in 2020, the VH-92A will transport the president and vice president of the United States and other officials.
“We are honored to work with the Marine Corps and Sikorsky to bring the propulsion capability of the CT7 to support the Office of the President of the United States,” Harry Nahatis, Vice President and General Manager of GE Aviation’s turboshaft and turboprop engines.
Developed for the U.S. Army to overcome the many shortcomings 1960s-era helicopter engines experienced in Southeast Asia, the turboprop
was designed to operate reliably in any environment and be easily maintained. Upon service entry in 1978 in the Black Hawk, the engine quickly proved its mettle in helicopter service, and its operational benefits also made it an ideal derivative as a turboprop powerplant.
Today, the T700/CT7 family of turboshaft and turboprop engines power 15 types of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft with more than 130 customers in more than 50 countries. In 2015, the T700/CT7 family surpassed 20,000 units delivered and more than 100 million total flight hours.
Over the decades, GE injected cutting edge technology into the T700/CT7 line, increasing power and reliability while decreasing cost of ownership. Current models in the 2,000-3,000 shaft-horsepower range retain all the proven features and operating characteristics of earlier versions while delivering enhanced performance.
Prime turboshaft applications include the Sikorsky Black Hawk, Seahawk, Jayhawk, Pave Hawk, S-70, S/H-92, CH-148 and VIP transport helicopters; the Boeing AH-64 Apache, Bell UH-1Y Huey, AW-1Z Super Cobra,214ST Super Transport and 525 Relentless, Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, NHIndustries NH90, Leonardo AW101 and AW189 and KAI Surion.