Lockheed VH-71 Helicopter Project Canceled

By WBNG News

Lockheed VH-71 Helicopter Project Canceled

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 1, 2009 at 9:38 PM EDT

The presidential helicopter program at Lockheed Martin, has been terminated.

At about 7 o'clock this evening, Lockheed received a letter from the Navy, issuing the order to effectively end the entire VH-71 project.

Ballooning costs are to blame.

The estimated price tag to provide up to 28 new presidential choppers doubled to 13 billion dollars.

President Obama called for the program to be cut, on the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

And Instead, Obama's 2010 budget proposal includes money to extend the life of the current Presidential Helicopter fleet, or develop options for a Presidential Helicopter Replacement program.

The budget also funds any necessary VH-71 program termination costs.

The Navy continues to review its options, including selling or offering Lockheed a buy-back option for the helicopters already built.

A spokesman from Lockheed says quote: "We will immediately comply with the termination directive, and bring the program to an orderly close."

Lockheed hired about 700 people for the VH-71 Helicopter Program after winning the contract in 2005.

130 workers were laid off at the plant last month.

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