This article first appeared at AviationWeek.com.
AgustaWestland has begun flying the pilot production version of its VH-71A variant of the AW101 for the U.S. presidential helicopter program. The helicopter, PP-1, was flown from the company's Yeovil site in England on September 22. It is the first of five production aircraft that will be built under Increment 1 of the program, with 23 improved helicopters to be produced under the follow-on Increment 2.
Lockheed Martin, prime contractor for the VH-71 program, is installing the first mission systems in two Increment 1 test vehicles, TV-3 and TV-4, at its presidential helicopter integration facility in Owego, New York. Another two helicopters, TV-1 and TV-5, are continuing air-vehicle flight testing at the U.S Navy's Patuxent River test center in Maryland.