Contractor: Sikorsky AircraftServices: USN, USMC Fuselage Length: 54 feet, 9 inches Overall Length: 72 feet, 8 inches Height: 16 feet, 10 inches Max Gross Weight: 21,500 pounds Speed: 161 miles/hour (140 knots) Powerplant: 2 General Electric T58-GE-400B turboshaft engines Crew: 2 pilots, 1 crew chief Program Status: Production Phase: Sustainment Inventory: 11
The Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King is the primary short-range transport aircraft for the President, Vice President, White House cabinet and staff. Operated by Marine Corps aviators from HMX-1, the Sea King ncludes Day/night/all-weather operations, self-contained navigation system, GPS, TCAS, survivability systems, and crash-survivable flight information recorder sensor, and carries no weapons. Communications include extensive secure and non-secure communication systems; and EMP hardening.
Dubbed “Marine One,” the VH-3D is out of production and a recent replacement program was cancelled in 2009 and the Navy was forced to go back to the drawing board to find an alternative.
More than 800 Marines supervise the operation of the Marine One fleet, which is based in Quantico, Virginia, but is more often seen in action on the South Lawn of the White House or at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility in Maryland. At Andrews, it is sometimes used to connect to Air Force One for longer journeys.
As a security measure, Marine One always flies in a group with identical helicopters, sometimes as many as five. One helicopter carries the President, while the others serve as decoys. Upon take-off these helicopters begin to shift in formation to obscure the location of the President. Marine One is also equipped with standard military anti-missile countermeasures such as flares to counter heat-seeking missiles and chaff to counter radar-guided missiles, as well as AN/ALQ-144A infrared countermeasures.
Marine One is transported (as is the president's limousine) wherever the president travels, within the U.S. as well as overseas.