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HMX-1’s Ospreys Getting VIP Kits

by John Reed on August 30, 2011

A while back we reported that HMX-1, the Marine Corps helo squadron that operates the fleet Marine One VH-3s and VH-60 presidential transport choppers, is going to receive 14 MV-22 Ospreys as support aircraft.

The MV-22s are set to replace the HMX-1’s old VH-53D Sea Stallions VH-53E Super Stallions (shown below) that are part of the “green top” fleet of choppers used to haul gear and support personnel in support of the president’s travels. (Only the VH-3s and VH-60s that carry the president receive the distinct green and white paint scheme — hence their nickname of “white tops.”)

However, the squadron is buying four removable VIP transport kits for its Ospreys. While pretty basic compared to the amenities found in standard Marine One birds, they certainly sound more comfortable than your standard cargo bird.

From Marine Corps Times:

VIP kits will outfit Osprey aircraft with green interior walls and a ceiling that will hide the tangle of wires, cords, tubes and pipes inside themedium-lift aircraft, according to the solicitation.

Black covers will give the canvas and metal seats that line each wall a sleeker look and more comfort. Matching black carpet will be added.Boarding passengers will be welcomed by the HMX-1 unit logo emblazoned on the rear ramp’s carpeting.

The kits are to be installed without any permanent modifications.

Here’s the actual solicitation for the kits.

Now, service officials say that despite these kits, the MV-22s (or will they be called VV-22s?) will be used to transport cargo and other dignitaries, not the president.

Still, with Boeing offering the V-22 as one of its potential bids in the VXX presidential helo replacement program, you’ve got to wonder how this will play into the contest.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

brian August 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

the V-22 would make an excellent Presidential Chopper. Its range and versatility would be a huge asset in reducing congestion since a huge swatch of the country would be accessible without air force 1. Despite the fear of the Osprey crashing, its clear by now that fear is unfounded. It has an excellent service record and years of excellent operational service.

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Guest A August 30, 2011 at 12:18 pm

That's not a pic of a VH-53D btw, that's a VH-53E.

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Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

No such animal as VH-53E. That is just a CH-53E with the Green Top paint job champ…

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Guest A August 31, 2011 at 6:56 am

Thanks chief…

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A. Hege February 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm

That picture is a H-53D. The H-53E has a canted tail.

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brianckramer August 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm

It's crazy we went from these things being death machines falling out of the sky, to flying presidential support around. Even though they probably won't actually be used for our very VIPs, they will be put in a very visible public role, which means confidence in their reliability has grown. They really aren't bad aircraft, as long as they are flown within the envelop (just like every other aircraft)

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FormerDirtDart August 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I thought the MV-22s were replacing HMX-1's CH-46s.

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Guest 1234 August 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Of course they are going to HMX….theres no way the Corps cant send them. They have sold their souls for this aircraft. They have to put it out in front and tow the party line. Yeah works great when you land at a paved surface everyday….so it will be valuable here at home….but still not getting it done forward.

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Will August 30, 2011 at 2:47 pm

A little explanation of the "not getting it done forward" part would be appreciated

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Altro August 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

110,000+ hours is not "getting it done" forward?

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jamesb August 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

You got it right Guest 1234…..

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Lance August 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Really do we need this right now while the government is fully broke.

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Vstress August 31, 2011 at 1:09 pm

It is not a bad way to go, considering the length of service of the 53s why would this not be a similar investment?

Seems to me like the interior is also a quick-fix solution that is definitely cheap to manufacture. So it's not like there are cost surprises in these helicopters.

Plus it means that longer distances are easier than currently. The range is much greater. Considering that hovering in the presidential helicopters is not really what they are used for then the 22 is much better. (hovering is what the 53 is better at – hence why its good in warzones where this can come to be an advantage tactically)

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tiger August 31, 2011 at 4:45 pm

No more than those Buses the Secret Service bought…..

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Vic Ram September 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

They Are Already Paid for through the Military Budget.Obama has not totally Bankrupt the Marine Corps Yet,and Yes We do NEED THEM.!!!

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Stephen N Russell August 30, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Test one as White Top for Long range Mission IE Pres is in Caribbean & takes V22 to Cuba from Miami? or Jamaica??
& seal up rear door or enlarge fueslage space & make V22 for Civil Use.
IE fly routes in Hawaii alone, Alaska BOTH use copters BIG Time.

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RSweeney August 30, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Excellent decision by President Biden to return to the use of more reliable helicopters after the accident.

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Musson August 31, 2011 at 1:26 pm

It's time for the POTUS to get over himself and buy a couple of commercial choppers.

They can't pay for Grandma's new hip. But, they can sure as hell travel in Style with a fleet of dedicated Jets, Helicopters, Limos and Busses.

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tiger August 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm

The guy hates working but loves the Perks. Never seems to go home to Chicago except to beg for money or hang with Oprah. Vacationer in Chief…….

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mik August 31, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Ferrying VIPs around Iraq
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Oba

"Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Jack Reed (D-RI), exit an MV-22 Osprey during the congressional delegates visit to al Anbar province, Iraq. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), transported Obama, Reed, and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb) to several stops throughout the province." – 2008

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@Earlydawn September 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Here's a thought; fly in the same damn conditions the troops do. You're not flying much more than an hour anyway.

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phrogdriver September 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

To many–do you really think the President ever really goes "on vacation?" He does the same things, just in a different place. All presidents do it. A lot. Reagan and GW Bush had their ranches, GHW Bush had Kennebunkport, and Clinton had Martha's Vineyard. They don't get days off.

Some of the Osprey-haters will never be satisfied. They'll keep saying it's dangerous, though it has the safest operational record in Marine air. They say it's not good in combat, after multiple OIF, OEF, and shipboard deployments.

The final irony is that they've been complaining that all it's good for is being a VIP taxi–and then when it officially gets used for that, they bitch about it there, too!

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Blight September 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

Good catch.

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Retired USArmy September 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

Shame, soldiers need them on the Front not in NYC Ferrying VIPs !!!!!!

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jim January 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm

the POTUS does not fly in the 53 or the 46's and will not fly in the V-22 should it ever replace the 53's. i personally would keep the 53, since getting into small airports would be easier

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blight August 30, 2011 at 12:21 pm

These aren't VIP aircraft.

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jumper August 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

True… also gotta consider the engine exhaust when the nacelles are angled up. There'd be a lot of dead grass after a couple landings and take offs.

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brian August 30, 2011 at 2:38 pm

the white house has a driveway, why not a helipad?

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Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm

They are NOT Marine One, more importantly….

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blight August 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Any military helicopter Obama steps into is Marine One (and same with aircraft and Air Force One), but I get what you mean…

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blight August 30, 2011 at 11:19 pm

(a) When the President is aboard a military aircraft, state the name of the military service, followed by the word “One.”

EXAMPLE-
“Air Force One.”
“Army One.”
“Marine One.”

(b) When the President is aboard a civil aircraft, state the words “Executive One.”

Hmm. Well, he mostly boards HMX-1 helicopters anyways, but the day he boards an AF helicopter is the day it is technically Air Force One.

Maybe he'll switch to Air Force Helicopters and marine aircraft for giggles. Well, if they had VIP aircraft.

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leesea August 31, 2011 at 1:59 am

the White House South Lawn has discs for the current helos, why not titanium panels for the VV-22?

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FormerDirtDart August 31, 2011 at 8:55 am

Actually, all the services have "VIP" aircraft. What do you think the Service Heads fly in?
And, in 2003, Navy One was hardly a VIP aircraft. It was a S-3 Viking

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blight August 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

I was thinking of fixed wing Marine VIP aircraft, but I'm not sure if they would use the Navy's aircraft or not.

The air force has a virtual monopoly on VIP style fixed wing…

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FormerDirtDart August 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm

All five services fly a myriad of small business jets (Gulfstreams, Citations) for VIP/Executive transport.
Both Pres, Clinton and Obama have used the Air Forces a number of times.

My point being, anything is possible. For example, Coast Guard Two was a HH-60 JayHawk.
Let's not forget, that for a time, the helicopter transport of the Pres. was shared by the Army and Marine Corps

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Vstress August 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm

What are they made out of right now?

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Musson September 1, 2011 at 9:40 am

Meanwhile – Michelle hit Rio, Spain, Martha's Vineyard and Hollywood and Florida.

They are already planning their trip to Bali.

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