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The Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King (company designation S-61) is an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare.


 VH-3D Seaking Marine One


The first use of helicopters for transporting the President was in 1957, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower traveled on a Bell UH-13J Sioux. The President needed a quick way to reach his summer home in Pennsylvania and using Air Force One would have been impractical over such a short distance. There was also no airfield near his home with a paved runway to support fixed wing aircraft. Eisenhower thereby instructed his staff to look into alternative modes of transportation and a Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse helicopter was commissioned. The early aircraft lacked the "creature comforts" found on its modern successors, such as air conditioning and toilets for in-flight use.


In 1958, the H-13 was replaced by the Sikorsky H-34, and in 1961 by the VH-3A. Not long after the mode of presidential transport was introduced, presidential aides asked the Marine Corps to look into the White House South Lawn as a helicopter landing zone. Ample room was present, and the protocol was established Until 1976, the Marine Corps shared the responsibility of helicopter transportation for the President with the United States Army. Army helicopters used the call sign Army One while the president was on board.


The VH-3D entered service in 1978. The VH-60N entered service in 1987 and has served alongside the VH-3D. Improvements were made to both types of helicopters since their introduction to both take advantage of technological developments as well as to meet new mission requirements. However, by about 2001, it was clear that so much extra weight had been added to the helicopters that mission capability was being reduced and few new improvements could be made.


By 2009, there were 11 VH-3Ds and eight VH-60Ns in service as Presidential/VIP helicopters.


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Marine One is the call sign of any United States Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States.[1] It usually denotes a helicopter operated by Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1 "Nighthawks"), either the large Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King or the newer, smaller VH-60N "White Hawk". Both helicopters are called "White Tops" because of their livery. Any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the Vice President has the call sign Marine Two.

Lockheed VH-3D Seaking

The first version of the Sikorsky S-61 was flown in 1959 and was originally developed as the SH-3 Sea King: an antisubmarine sensor carrier for the US Navy.

The VH-3D was delivered to HMX-1 squadron for supports the executive transport mission for the President of the United States ( Marine One ) in December 1974 as a replacement for the VH-3A which was completely replaced by the end of 1976.

  • History

    Role Anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and utility helicopter

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft

    First flight 11 March 1959

    Introduction 1961


  • Primary Users

    Retired Retired by United States Navy in 2006

    Status In service

    Primary users United States Navy (historical)

    Italian Navy

    Brazilian Navy

    Argentine Naval Aviation


  • Specifications

    Produced 1959–1970s

    Unit cost

    $6.4 million

    Variants Sikorsky S-61L/N

    Sikorsky S-61R

    Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King

    Westland Sea King

Marine One is a Sikorsky VH-3D Seaking "White Tops"


The VH-3D entered service in 1978. The VH-60N entered service in 1987 and has served alongside the VH-3D.[


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