Obama doesn't think he needs a fleet of new helicopters

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Washington, Feb 24 (ANI): President Barack Obama doesn't think he needs a fleet of new helicopters to serve as Marine One.

Discussing the issue of military procurement during the closing session of his White House Summit on Fiscal Responsibility, Senator John McCain raised concerns about the skyrocketing costs of the program to build a fleet of 28 new helicopters for presidential use.

The president said he already talked to Defense Secretary Robert Gates about conducting a thorough review of the helicopter situation, CBS News reported.

"The helicopter I have now seems perfectly adequately to me. Of course, I've never had a helicopter before. Maybe I've been deprived and I didn't know it," he said.

He thinks the Marine One contract is "an example of the procurement process gone amok and we're gonna have to fix it."

The Navy awarded a contract in 2005 to Lockheed Martin to build a new generation of 28 helicopters to serve as Marine One, but last week cost overruns forced the Pentagon to issue a stop-work order at the end of 2007.

The original 6.1billion dollar program had ballooned to 11.2billion dollar, which triggered a statute requiring the program be subjected to review.

A fleet of Sikorsky VH-3D Sea Kings and VH-60N Black Hawks now serves Obama, with some of them being in presidential service for over three decades.

It was the Pentagon's intention to replace them with new three-engine helicopters that provided greater range and protection for the Commander-in-Chief. (ANI)

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