Oh Canada: The Fate of the Marines’ VH-71 Fleet

Yes, the picture above shows five of the nine AgustaWestland-made VH-71 helicopters shrinkwrapped and being shipped on a barge from Maryland to Canada. The VH-71s were delivered to the U.S. Navy years ago as part of the Marine One helicopter replacement program. If you’ll remember, that effort was scrapped shortly after President Obama took office due to massive cost growth associated with converting the helos into a 21st Century presidential ride.

The problem is, nine helos had already been delivered to the Naval Air Systems Command at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland. Four test aircraft and five production birds that were going to be sent to a Lockheed Martin facility in Owego, NY., where they would be converted into luxury helos for the president.

After the program was canceled, the brand new choppers sat on the ramp at Pax River until last year when they were sold to Canada for pennies on the dollar despite interest in the choppers from “other” U.S. government agencies. ┬áNow, they’re going to be used for parts to support Canada’s fleet of Cormorant rescue choppers. So sad.

A friend of DT’s snapped the photo above on the show floor at the Navy League’s annual Sea, Air, Space conference in Maryland earlier this week.

  • Kool Guy

    Not really a waste, Canada is pretty closely related to the US in term of defense. Its a benefit to the US as well if Canada modernize their military.

  • navy259

    As a Canadian, I would like to thank our friends in the United States for the great deal on the helicopters. Hopefully many lives will be saved through this transaction. I also hope this works out better for us, than our “cheap” submarine’s that we bought from the British Royal Navy.

    • steve

      Wish the Canadians all the good luck in this world during any of your rescue operations, with these new Helos, and all your other craft as well!

    • Davis Newman

      As an American, I’m glad the Canadians will get them. They will put them to good use. Its better than letting them sit and never be used.

  • Nicky

    What a waste, but at least Canada’s going to use them very well as SAR helo’s.

    • jumper

      No they’re not. They’re using them for cann birds.

  • I read earlier that the helicopters only will be used for spares for the canadians SAR helo’s, they have had problems with obtaining the spares necessary from europe. There is still a lifesaving potential in this deal though.

    I think the marines should opt for a cheaper solution. The thing a presidential helicopter needs that other doesn’t have, is a large parachute in a dome above the rotor and a large airbag below the cabin! :)

  • ForrestCantrell

    Now we know how the Brits feel when they sold us their Harriers to be used as spare parts for the Marines . . .

  • Lance

    That’s a smart plan just sell the stuff we dont use to foreign countries. Instead of giving them to enemy’s like President Karzi in Kabul for free. Let the DoD make a profit and have money for programs then. Too bad congress wont let them do it.

    • Praetorian

      Lance, I agree with letting the DoD make a profit, but in this case it’s a loss.
      They sold for pennies on the dollar.

      • majrod

        Why the negatives? Someone has thin skin.

    • Roland

      We should assign QC’s on quantity takeoff, bill of materials, on every unit foreign orders and domestic military equipment design and productions . It’s been getting out of hand from the past years up to present time.

    • PolicyWonk

      Maybe we should’ve sold ’em to IRAN – we already gave them control of the Middle East!

  • Naska1

    Thanks for the choppers DOD our big yellow helos will fly high and save lives. That’s what matters in the end.

  • Jayson

    Since the Sea Kings are still flying for some reason (Political boggling) and the Cyclone are still not here, It’d be cheaper to refurbish these guys for the Kings replacements like they were supposed to in the 90’s

  • It’s quite depressing to keep hearing about expensive procurement f’k-ups here in the UK; so it gives me a certain degree of sadistic pleasure to see that the Americans wasted billions of dollars failing to fit a few yards of carpet, a mini-fridge, and a couple of presidential la-z-boys into a chopper.

    • Sharon

      You are too Funny — love the way you put that — La-zy Boys — love it!

  • Gmoney

    Did anyone notice that the pic is a mock up?

  • Paul

    It’s great that our neighbors to the north are getting them at a discount rate but I can’t help but feel like there’s some patriotic symbolism in the fact that we just sold what was originally intended to be the nations next icon of presidential power to Canada for cheap… to use as spare parts.

  • jamesb

    Gmoney’s right you guys got spoofed again….

    And ANYBODY who thinks selling $3 Billion worth of Helo’s to Canada should have their heads examined…….Gates are responsible for dumping that $3 Billion in the trash for pennies on the dollar….The VH-71 clearly beat the Skorisky in head to head competition…..Only to have the WH Military or and S/S add so much stuff on the hello it needed a fix…..The current fleet is almost as old as the President…..You and I the Tax payer is gonna pay for 13 NEW birds that WILL be AMERICAN made have cost overruns, take TEN years to make and cost DOUBLE what we paid Augusta-Westland to get RID of 9 perfectly GOOD Helo’s….This IS a textbook case of the failure of the military and political legs of our government to get a system right……
    At least the Canadians’ got a good deal on OUR buck….

  • jamesb

    Oh, Yea….
    I know somebody here is gonna show up and mentioned that the Navy and Marines have persuaded somebody to take a batch of VH-22’s and use them for the Non-Presidential Helo’s for the Marine One fleet…..
    Maybe this is back door way to advance that a/c for the Primary Helo?
    Obama ‘s flown one when he was a Senator and Panetta has time in the a/c……
    VH-22’s for the President?

  • Gentry

    Gentlemen, read the first comment, I believe that sums it up nicely.

  • Flight Tester

    More Fraud Waste and Abuse from this administration. When will it ever stop?

  • T-Rye

    The estimated cmore than the most advanced aircraft in the world, the F22 Raptor. ost per bird to complete the program would have been $400M, $61M

  • tiger

    Speaking airplaines wraped and not used. Anbody catch the News about a Squadron worth of brand new Spitfires in crates Buried in Burma? ?http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/04/19/buried-treasure-in-burma-squadron-lost-wwii-spitfires-to-be-exhumed/

    That would be a better deal than the copters. 20 some pristine mark XIV’s waiting like pirate gold for the lucky finder.

    • Gunner

      I read the story—can you even imagine what 20 brand new Spitfires with Griffon engines would sell for!!!

    • my dear Tiger, i have been bird hunting for 30 yrs and have heard the report on the MK14s most of that time…. heres the straight skinny on them….. first they were in a hanger… second. in 1962 the hanger burned down……. poof no planes in the hanger third. new story. they were gift wraped and burried out side of rangoon. how ever ol chap checking with vickers and merlin no such aircraft were ever sold to burma the last mark 14 that flew was in india. there were 3 there. chopped up for parts . good hunting ol boy

    • 1,200,000$ each in flying condition

  • terry Young

    If you want to know when the wastye and fraud will end in Washington, wait until we see Jesus Christ walking down Pennsylvania Boulevard!!!!
    Waste, Corruption, fraud, thievery,and Scandal is so enemic to the political scene, it would be almost impossible for it to work without it. An “honest politcian” is one that stays bought by one side or the other!!!
    We need to get rid of them all!! start from the lowest job all the way to the top, and get rid of the BEAURACRATS!!!!!!!!they wereNOT elected!!they were appointed by someone, they should be demoted to the lowest level availableand frozen at that rank for 5yrs. All former politicians should be BARRED from ANY contact with Governmenatal employees for 10yre and all pensions should be tied to veterans pensions,or Social Security pensions,as well as medical treatments!!!!!!!!!!

    • blight_

      As if elections were any better. I agree that people who are appointed are rarely better than those elected, but there are a number of civil servants who achieve their positions by applying to a job vacancy like anyone else…

  • grady

    Fuck that start with ending the endemic waste fraud and CORRUPTION that Congress represents the rest of the little fukkers will be running and try to hide. Our system of government has been completely destroyed from the fukking inside out. i would like to be able to hold CONGRESS as liable for the use of MY money and to0 finally acccount for over TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF RAMPANT GREED AND CORRUPTION stupid fukkers i hope they all choke on their ties.

  • Scott McC

    Those overweight turkeys will never fly again in RCAF livery as SAR birds. Hard to do effective long distance SAR with a bird that has half the range and high altitude of the Comorants. A few tonnes of extra wiring, kevlar and EMP shielding, bullet proof gas tanks, and no hoist doesn’t help rescuing people in distress.
    Maybe they might save the 5 production models for basic proficiency flight training saving wear on the Cormorants, but the prototypes will be stripped bare for parts.

  • Your syndicate agreement does not have to be a complex document.
    The options within the area range from Myall Lakes houseboats, cottages, apartments, cabins and guests houses, lodges and
    hotels among many others. Freshwater fish can be placed
    in the live well on the boat, or on a stringer
    to keep it alive until you are able to clean it.

  • Take a separate quote from the company asking for coverage if you want insurance coverage to your furniture
    during transit. Nevertheless, there’re several approaches you can minimize your budgets when you
    choose an Illinois Moving Companies. And, if you’ve taken taxis for any length of time in Bangkok, you’ll know this is pretty much the
    norm, unfortunately.

  • Remember that your ex-girlfriend has moved on and no amount of
    sulking will make her come back so get up and get your
    life back. The above talked about three methods
    to move Favorites in Internet Explorer 9.
    There are tanks and a lot of men to the left, and you need to let the
    friendly tanks take care of them.

  • Thus we became noobs on the water when we purchased
    our 1957 Sea King with a 1964 Johnson motor. Nowadays,
    these super coolers are used for both commercial and domestic purpose.

    You will catch red fish, spotted sea trout, pompano, snook, mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel,
    small black-tip sharks, small bonnet sharks, sheephead & in cooler weather the odd king mackerel.

  • They also work hard to develop easy payment plans for their services.
    The packers are skilled and are capable enough to pack different types of goods.

    Expert packers and movers have well trained and expert workers for the packing and shifting of customers belongings.
    The problem arises when the volume of the data increases with the
    integrations of tools and applications such as customer relationship management, supply chain management, e-mail, wireless computing,
    ecommerce, online store, workgroup collaboration, smartphone integrations and various other factors.
    Another point to be considered here is that the local
    businesses know the target customers better than multi national
    companies, as they have their roots here in this county of
    Florida and thereby know the people and the tourists of this place better.

    Additionally, you may not find the required time to do the entire
    needful task. What users are, can not live without the NAS, when they have experienced the flexibility and usability of NAS finally give
    them. Managing expenses is one of the reasons most organizations are shifting to
    digital archiving. They look after each and every aspect about
    relocation and committed for trouble-free relocation. It helps seal in the heating or cooling in homes
    and there are no leakages.