Dec. 18 (UPI) -- General Electric has been awarded an $11.1 million contract in support of the Marine Corps Presidential Helicopter Program, the Pentagon announced.
The deal funds the purchase of five CT7-8A6 engines, along with metal shipping containers and hardware. Work is scheduled to take place in Lynn, Massachusetts and is expected to be completed in December 2019.
GE's CT7-8 series of engines use commercial components and are run by onboard computers called full authority digital electrical control, or FADEC, for reduced pilot workload.
The Navy is in the process of replacing the Marine Corps' fleet of helicopters used for presidential transport with the Sikorsky VH-92A helicopter. Currently, the Corps uses VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters for the presidential program.
The total cost of replacing the 23-helicopter fleet was estimated at $4.95 billion, or $215 million per helicopter, in April -- a 4.5 percent decline from a 2014 estimate of $5.18 billion.
In June, Sikorsky was awarded $542 million to add six VH-92A helicopters to the presidential fleet.
In 2018, the Government Accountability Office found the VH-92A hadn't met a capability requirement for landing without damaging the landing zone, including the White House South Lawn -- a problem the company has said it can address by November 2020.
The VH-92A program has also experienced problems with the aircraft's communication system due to changes in network security requirements. The Navy has also announced a fix for that as well, due in January 2020.